By Steve Corkran
Wednesday, March 13th, 2013 at 3:01 pm in Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders signed defensive tackle Pat Sims, linebacker Kaluka Maiava and defensive end Jason Hunter on Wednesday in what amounts to the addition of solid players, even if they arent household names.
“We’re excited to add three veterans through free agency,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said via press release, “helping to create depth and competition on defense. We’ll continue to add free agents as the opportunity surfaces.”
Sims, 27, played for the Cincinnati Bengals the past five seasons, with 23 starts — only one the past two seasons. He recorded 17 tackles in eight games last season.
Sims, 6-foot-2 and 335 pounds, is projected to team with Tommy Kelly in the middle for now, with Richard Seymour a free agent and key backup Desmond Bryant now a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Maiava, 26, started 22 games for the Browns during his four-year career in Cleveland. The Raiders are thin at linebacker, with the defection of Philip Wheeler to the Miami Dolphins and the expected release of Rolando McClain. Omar Gaither is a free agent, also.
Hunter, 29, last played in the NFL in 2011, when he was with the Denver Broncos. He started two games that season. Overall, Hunter has six years’ NFL experience, including three with the Green Bay Packers.
The Raiders are in need of some help at end, with Matt Shaughnessy a free agent, Bryant gone and Dave Tollefson released.
The signings of Sims, Hunter and Maiava represent Oakland’s first foray into free agency since the process kicked off Tuesday. Before now, their only moves consisted of re-signing cornerbacks Coye Francies and Phillip Adams to one-year contracts.