By Steve Corkran
Friday, March 16th, 2012 at 3:55 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders signed free agent guard Mike Brisiel and free agent cornerback Ron Bartell within the past hour, marking the first signings by the Raiders since free agency started Tuesday.
Bartell, 30, spent the past seven seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He will be counted upon to help fill the void created by the release of 2011 opening-game starters Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson.
Bartell will be joined in the fray by holdovers Chimdi Chekwa, DeMarcus Van Dyke and Brandon Underwood. Bartell started 65 games for the Rams, though he missed all but one game last season with an injury.
Brisiel, 29, spent the past six seasons with the Houston Texans. He will be penciled in to replace Cooper Carlisle, who was released earlier this week, at right guard.
Brisiel started 47 games for the Texans, including 13 last season. He is reunited with Frank Pollack and Greg Knapp, who coached for the Texans the past five and two seasons, respectively.
The Raiders had some money to throw around at players after spending most of the past two months paring salary and creating salary-cap space.
Earlier today, the Raiders freed up $4.5 million by releasing veteran outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley. The Raiders still have around $10 million in cap room.
Also, former Raiders wide receiver Chaz Schilens signed with the New York Jets today. He visited the Cardinals, as well, before signing with the Jets. He is reunited with former Raiders wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal.