Raiders enter free agency pool, sign Brisiel, Bartell

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Raiders enter free agency pool, sign Brisiel, Bartell

And on the fourth day of the NFL's new year, and after clearing space under the salary cap, the Raiders entered the free agency pool.Oakland inked former Houston right guard Mike Brisiel and former St. Louis cornerback Ronald Bartell, according to numerous reports. Brisiel's agent Jeff Sperbeck tweeted the signing of his client.
Both players seem to fit new general manager Reggie McKenzie's strategy of finding undervalued talent. The Houston Chronicle reported Brisiel signed a five-year, 20-million deal while the San Francisco Chronicle had Bartell signing a one-year, 3-million contract.The purported signings come just after Oakland announced the release of linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, the seventh Raiders player to be cut this offseason, which should have gotten the Raiders 11.154.766 million under the salary cap.Both Brisiel and Bartell, though, are coming off injury-marred seasons.Brisiel broke his right leg in a Dec. 11 game and finished the game. Bartell fractured the C7 bone in his neck in the 2011 season opener and missed the remainder of the season.Obviously, both checked out fine with the Raiders medical staff to have signed. And both should step into the starting lineup, what with Oakland having cut right guard Cooper Carlisle and cornerbacks Stanford Routt and Chris Johnson.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”