The Raiders could only watch as some of their top targets committed to other teams over the past few days. Monday morning started better because they reeled in a big fish.
They reached an agreement on contract terms with Kansas City’s Rodney Hudson on Monday morning that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid center, according to an NFL source. The 25-year old is expected to sign a contract when free agency opens on Tuesday that will pay him $44.5 million over five years.
Hudson’s deal comes in just above the record amount Pittsburgh gave Maurkice Pouncey, a major reward for a player who illustrated signs of football acumen and physical dominance in Kansas City last season.
Competition for Hudson was between the Raiders and his old team, but the Chiefs couldn’t match the Raiders offer after committing funds to other players, including high-priced receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Hudson replaces Stefen Wisniewski, who was taken a few selections earlier in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. The Raiders were never on the same wavelength with Wisniewski’s camp during extension talks last fall and again early this offseason.
Ultimately, the Raiders were content to let Wisniewski hit the open market. Hudson represents an upgrade at the position, albeit an extremely expensive one.
Hudson is an excellent run blocker who can get out and run, which should help him operate an up-tempo attack led by new coordinator Bill Musgrave. He’s also strong in pass protection, allowing just 11 quarterback pressures in 16 games last season.
Hudson has been a full-time starter for the past two seasons. He missed most of the 2012 season with a broken left leg, but has proven durable since.
Hudson was the first target the Raiders locked down after a few unsuccessful ventures. They offered big money to receiver Randall Cobb, who took less to stay in Green Bay. They were in the Ndamuokong Suh sweepstakes for a long time, but the star defensive tackle chose Miami instead.
High profile free agents started committing to other teams, including the best receivers.
The Raiders still have irons in the fire, and could get a few more players to commit before days’ end.