Aldon Smith, who has been arrested 5 times since 2012, has been signed by the Raiders.

What year is this again? I thought that the legendary Al Davis had passed, and therefore no longer ran the Oakland Raiders. See, Davis is where this Raiders tradition, the tradition of signing talented malcontents and also-rans originated, and was as predictable as Ice Cube having a good day.

But when Reggie McKenzie started running the show back in 2012, things changed.  Al was gone, and the Raiders headed in a new, different direction.  Reggie went on to strip the roster down and rebuild it, all the while showing through his signings that he would build his Raiders on players with quality character.  Seemed odd that they would change that strategy, especially now, so close to the season.

But all those quality guys that McKenzie signed and drafted and all the new coaches and what seems to be a genuine move towards success in the near future is the foundation.  Reggie’s foundation.  He built it, and it’s there.  This is the strength of Reggie’s new Raiders, and what allowed them this move.

Now, the foundation still needs to solidify completely, if you will. Jack Del Rio has yet to coach a game. Signing Smith has some risk.  This guy has had a lot of chances, and the Raiders don’t want to see him fail again, this time in their uniform. Also there is the looming suspension that Smith is sure to receive.

Turns out though, that the Raiders core of cornerbacks is very young, and very suspect. There were no good free agent corners to choose from, so everybody accepted it as their biggest weakness, and braced themselves for the worse.

But ahhh, the corner’s natural best friend, a consistent pass rush, was available. Sign here, Aldon.  Smith looks to be good to go this Sunday and if the Raiders coaches play this right, he’ll be a huge help.

The new Raiders strength, a young foundation, has helped them address their biggest weakness on the field.  Their present stability blends weirdly with their past, and Al Davis surely must be smiling.

Luke Straub

Spark Sports NFL Analyst