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Raiders bring back starting offensive lineman before NFL free agency

Updated March 10, 2024 - 3:09 pm

The Raiders checked a box off their to-do list on the eve of free agency by coming to terms with center Andre James on a three-year contract.

James was one of three Raiders offensive line starters who were set to hit the open market when the NFL’s legal tampering period opened Monday. The other two were right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor and right guard Greg Van Roten. The Raiders gave their starting center a deal worth $24 million with $16 million in guarantees to keep him from leaving the building.

James, 26, signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2019. He converted from tackle to center in the NFL and spent two seasons as Rodney Hudson’s understudy. He took over the starting job for the 2021 NFL season and has been a mainstay ever since.

James finished last year as the ninth-best center in the league, according to the website Pro Football Focus. He was considered one of the top free-agent centers before his new deal.

James’ return means the Raiders can keep Dylan Parham at left guard rather than moving him to center as James’ replacement. That leaves the team’s remaining holes on the offensive line at right guard and right tackle. The Raiders can shift their focus to retaining Van Roten and Eluemunor or to looking for possible replacements in free agency.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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