Richard Seymour’s return to Oakland came with a $30 million price tag. That number — and some might use the word staggering here — make Seymour the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player, according to NFL Network information man Jason La Canfora.
The Raiders left little doubt about the value they place on Seymour. NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger weighed on in Seymour’s impact with the Raiders:
“I thought that he fit in well with what they are doing in Oakland. One thing you can say about the Raiders is they’ve incrased the talent level and are a much-improved football team, and he’s a big part of it. … He’s a very big body; wide, tall and takes up space. He knows how to use it. He’s still a very good player. I don’t know if I would call him elite. … It’s difficult to be an elite player at his position. You don’t neccessarily need elite players there, or high draft picks, to be successful. … When you add the level of professionalism and his impact on teammates, he brings a lot of that to the organization.“
The Raiders need Seymour, 31, and in several ways it was a no-brainer to retain him. They paid a high price to acquire him from the Patriots with the No. 17 overall pick in the upcoming draft. They couldn’t just let Seymour walk after a two-year rental.
But what is the true value of Seymour’s role — a defensive end in the team’s base 3-4 defense who slides inside on passing downs and thus isn’t relied on for high sack totals? As Baldinger suggests, Seymour’s value is in his experience, leadership by example and commanding, physical presence both on the field and in the locker room.
Is the price tag of making him the highest-paid defender logical, especially given the possible repercussions? And who were the Raiders really bidding against in giving him the equivalent of the franchise tag for the next two years?
The answers might ultimately rest in whether the Raiders are still capable of signing a number of their unrestricted free agents, starting with CB Nnamdi Asoumugha. Michael Lombardi reported the Raiders hope to get Asomugha back at their price, before quickly adding he “doesn’t see that happening.”
It’s difficult to argue Seymour isn’t vital for the Raiders, a franchise known to throw money at players far less deserving. At least Seymour can play. But the question is, will this move be worth the cost?
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