Oakland Raiders sign MLB Curtis Lofton

Curtis Lofton finished 4th in the NFL in tackles with 145 last season. Given the size of this deal, 18 million over 3 years with 10 million guaranteed, I assume the Raiders didn’t actually watch Lofton play last season and just looked at the tackle stats. His 22 missed tackles led the NFL regardless of position and a lot of his tackles were him cleaning up broken plays after big gains on a New Orleans defense that was arguably the NFL’s worst in 2014. He ended the season as Pro Football Focus’ 57th ranked middle linebacker out of 60 eligible.

This is nothing new for him. Lofton was Pro Football Focus’ 15th ranked middle linebacker in 2011 in the final year of his rookie deal with the Falcons, which landed him a 5-year, 27.5 million dollar deal from the Saints the following off-season. However, he graded out below average in all 3 seasons with the Saints, with his worst year coming last year. There’s a reason the Saints released him, a move that saved them 7.25 million in cash and 4.25 million on the cap. Lofton gets slightly less annually in Oakland than 7.25 million, but this is still a big overpay. It’s actually more per year than he got on his last deal. He’ll be an upgrade on Miles Burris, but only by default as Burris was Pro Football Focus’ worst ranked middle linebacker by a wide margin in 2014.

Grade: D

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