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What are the 5 best trades or free-agent signings in Raiders history?

The Raiders made a splash this offseason by signing dominant defensive tackle Christian Wilkins in free agency.

The former Dolphins star is expected to team up with Maxx Crosby to give the Raiders one of the NFL’s top defensive lines.

The deal raises the question: What are the shrewdest moves in franchise history?

Here are five that stand out:

5. Trading for Daryle Lamonica (1967)

Lamonica was Jack Kemp’s backup with the Buffalo Bills to start his career, but he did get occasional playing time.

That allowed Lamonica to catch Al Davis’ eye. Davis wanted to add the gifted thrower to give the Raiders the ability to threaten teams deep.

The deal came together in 1967. The Raiders acquired Lamonica and Glenn Bass for Art Powell and Tom Flores. Lamonica made an immediate impact, throwing for 3,228 yards and 30 touchdowns while leading the team to an appearance in Super Bowl 2.

Lamonica finished with a 66-16-6 record and threw for 19,154 yards and 164 touchdowns in his eight years as the Raiders’ starter.

FILE - Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica (3) hustles to get out of the path of Charle ...
FILE - Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica (3) hustles to get out of the path of Charley Kreuger of the San Francisco 49ers, during game action at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., Dec. 21, 1970. (AP Photo/File)

4. Signing Rich Gannon (1999)

Gannon was 35 years old and had played for three teams over 11 NFL seasons by the time the Raiders signed him as a free agent in 1999. He was considered a journeyman quarterback.

Then, he showed he was so much more.

Gannon, playing for coaches Jon Gruden and Bill Callahan, threw for 17,585 yards and 114 touchdowns in his six seasons with the Raiders. He led them to the playoffs three times and to Super Bowl 37. Gannon also was named the NFL’s MVP in 2002.

Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon passes in front of a San Francisco 49ers player in the ...
Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon passes in front of a San Francisco 49ers player in the first quarter during their exhibition game, Saturday, Aug. 14, 2004, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

3. Trading for Mike Haynes (1983)

Al Davis always preferred to have two dominant cornerbacks.

That’s why he jumped at the chance to acquire Haynes from the Patriots during the 1983 season. Haynes paired with Lester Hayes to become one of the NFL’s best cornerback duos.

The two helped the Raiders reach Super Bowl 18, where they defeated Washington to win their third Lombardi Trophy. Haynes finished with 18 interceptions during his seven seasons with the team.

Cornerback Mike Haynes (22) of the Los Angeles Raiders dives to grab the football fumbled by Cu ...
Cornerback Mike Haynes (22) of the Los Angeles Raiders dives to grab the football fumbled by Curt Warner, left, of the Seattle Seahawks Nov. 29, 1988, during the fourth quarter of their night game in Seattle. (AP Photo/Barry Sweet)

2. Signing Jim Plunkett (1978)

Plunkett was almost a broken man when he signed with the Raiders in 1978.

The quarterback absorbed tons of abuse during his time with the morbid Patriots, who selected him first overall in 1971, and the San Francisco 49ers.

The Raiders brought in the former Heisman Trophy winner to serve as their backup during the 1978 and 1979 seasons. He was then forced into action in 1980 when Dan Pastorini broke his leg.

Plunkett ended up guiding the Raiders to a 9-2 record their final 11 games. The team then authored an improbable playoff run that culminated with a win over the Eagles in Super Bowl 15.

Plunkett helped the Raiders repeat the feat three years later with a win over Washington in Super Bowl 18.

Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett runs through the crowd as he leaves the field afte ...
Los Angeles Raiders quarterback Jim Plunkett runs through the crowd as he leaves the field after leading his team to a 38-9 victory over the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII in Tampa, Jan. 22, 1984. (AP Photo)

1. Trading for Willie Brown (1967)

Brown went undrafted out of Grambling State in 1963, but the cornerback signed with the Broncos and earned All-American Football League honors by his second season.

Denver then decided to trade him to the Raiders for Rex Mirich and a third-round pick in 1967. Brown, a future Hall of Famer, became one of the team’s pillars and recorded 39 interceptions over 12 seasons. The Raiders were a perennial playoff team during his tenure. He helped them win Super Bowl 11 by intercepting a pass from Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton and returning it 75 yards for a touchdown.

Kansas City wide receiver Frank Pitts (25) and Raiders' defensive back Willie Brown (24) try to ...
Kansas City wide receiver Frank Pitts (25) and Raiders' defensive back Willie Brown (24) try to get their hands on the Chiefs' pass but it eludes both of them in the first quarter at Oakland, Dec. 12, 1970. (AP Photo)

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

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