OAKLAND, Calif. — This week, the Raiders have signed one tight end and re-signed another. They’ve added a former Pro Bowl wide receiver and former Pro Bowl running back. For good measure, they’ve picked up a fullback who specializes on special teams.
Of course, they haven’t forgotten about their defense.
Linebacker Tahir Whitehead, safety Marcus Gilchrist and defensive end Tank Carradine all visited the Raiders on Thursday, sources said.
Of the three defenders, Gilchrist has agreed to a contract with the Raiders, a source confirmed. NFL Media first reported the deal, adding it’s for one year.
Gilchrist, 29, gained early NFL experience at cornerback but is projected to start opposite safety Karl Joseph. He spent the first four years of his career in the AFC West for the Chargers. The Raiders would mark his fourth team in as many seasons, following San Diego with two years on the New York Jets and last year on the Houston Texans.
Not a playmaker by trade, Gilchrist has 11 interceptions in seven seasons. But he could chew up snaps in a secondary suddenly void of key returners.
Safety Reggie Nelson, 34, and cornerback TJ Carrie became free agents Wednesday. The latter signed with the Cleveland Browns. The Raiders have moved on from cornerbacks David Amerson and Sean Smith. Amerson, released in February, signed a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs. Smith pleaded guilty this week to felony assault for beating his sister’s then-boyfriend last July. On Tuesday, he began a one-year jail sentence.
The team also is “closing in” on signing Whitehead, according to NFL Media.
Whitehead, 28 in April, is a former standout with the Detroit Lions.
He’d offer the Raiders a needed veteran presence at the position, something linebacker NaVorro Bowman provided in 2017 as a midseason signing. Bowman remains eligible for re-signing as an unrestricted free agent.
Whitehead has spent all six years of his NFL career with the Lions. A former fifth-round pick from Temple, he worked predominantly as a reserve those first two seasons before starting 55 games since 2014. The run stopper was credited with 389 tackles, four interceptions and five forced fumbles in Detroit.
Carradine, a 2013 second-round pick, worked predominantly as a reserve with the Niners. That was before last year when he started seven of the eight games in which he appeared.
He has 76 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks in 44 career games.
At cornerback, former Indianapolis Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin is among the options in whom the Raiders have expressed interest, a source said Wednesday. He is still a free agent. Jonathan Joseph is not. He told Houston reporters Thursday that, before re-signing with the Texans, the Raiders were the other finalist for his service.
Joseph chose the Texans because of the familiarity the franchise provided his family, he said.