Raiders sign 3 defenders in free agency

By JOSH DUBOW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-09 16:18

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) - Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is looking for better luck this season with his free-agent cornerback additions.

The Raiders signed Mike Jenkins on Tuesday to team with the recently added Tracy Porter to add experience to an untested secondary. Oakland also signed free agent safety Usama Young and brought back free agent defensive end Andre Carter for a second season.

Before these latest additions of former starters in the NFL, the other cornerbacks on the Raiders roster had combined for four career starts.

Last offseason, McKenzie gave one-year contracts to a pair of veteran cornerbacks coming off injuries in Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer and neither one finished the season on the active roster.

Bartell broke his left shoulder blade in the season opener and missed the next seven games. After starting five games when he returned, Bartell was cut last December when the Raiders wanted to look at younger cornerbacks.

Spencer played two games before being sidelined by a season-ending sprained right foot.

With the decision to cut Michael Huff last month, the only cornerbacks on the roster until last week were Phillip Adams, Chimdi Chekwa, Brandian Ross, Cory Nelms and converted running back Taiwan Jones.

Jenkins entered the league in 2008 as a first-round pick out of South Florida. He emerged as one of the league's best cornerbacks in his second year when he had the five interceptions, 19 passes defensed, held opposing receivers to catches on less than half the balls thrown his direction and made the Pro Bowl.

But since then, Jenkins struggled in coverage and eventually lost his starting job with the Cowboys. Over the past three seasons, Jenkins has allowed quarterbacks to complete 61.8 percent of their passes thrown his direction with 11 touchdowns for a passer rating of 108.4.

The Raiders defense has undergone a near-complete overhaul after the team allowed the fifth-most points in the NFL last season.

Only three starters from that unit are back in 2013 as the focus of the offseason has been on rebuilding a struggling defense. Oakland had previously signed linebackers Nick Roach, Kaluka Maiava and Kaelin Burnett and defensive linemen Jason Hunter, Pat Sims and Vance Walker.

Young will help fill a hole at safety where Tyvon Branch was the only experienced starter. Young played the last two seasons in Cleveland after spending four years in New Orleans, where Raiders coach Dennis Allen was secondary coach. He has seven interceptions and 22 passes defensed in 81 games.

Carter, who is entering his 13th season, played 12 games for Oakland last season, recording 2 1/2 sacks in a reserve role. He also was credited with five quarterback hits and eight quarterback hurries in 170 pass rushing snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.

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