The Oakland Raiders have re-signed another player, this time an offensive tackle. But not the tackle that everyone has been waiting for them to sign. Rather than getting news on the re-signing of starting left tackle Jared Veldheer, Raider Nation was treated to news that Khalif Barnes was the guy being re-signed.
For the most part, Raiders fans were upset over the signing. Barnes will be entering his sixth season with the Silver and Black and fans have spent most of those six years waiting for the Raiders to upgrade the position. Last season, fans saw their worst nightmare when Barnes had to fill in at left tackle after injuries plagued their offensive line.
After years of hoping for upgrades throughout the offensive line, the re-signing of Barnes was symbolic of yet another year of the Raiders settling for mediocre play on their offensive line. But the re-signing could also be symbolic of the Raiders commitment not only to upgrade the line, but also to have solid depth in order to avoid the problems they faced last season.
While not an ideal starter, Barnes makes a very good backup. He has a ton of starting experience and would easily be one of the better backup tackles in the league. He can play both tackle positions as well as being able to move inside and play each guard spot.
Keeping Barnes around for depth is also great because of the fact that he is a veteran who is familiar with the Raiders and with what this coaching staff is trying to get done. If the Raiders draft offensive line talent, which they should, having a veteran like Barnes on the roster to help them develop will be a very good thing.
The first two signings of the offseason were not all that exciting (with the first being the extension of special teams stud Taiwan Jones). But both show the Raiders are trying to keep players around who will upgrade the team as a whole and not just the starting units.
Then again … all that changes if the Raiders end up with Barnes as their starting right tackle again this year. The signing would still not be bad since it is not a big contract, but the inability to upgrade the position would be a terrible sign for general manager Reggie McKenzie.