With the Saints, cornerback Tracy Porter (No. 22) often made big plays. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The Raiders needed a cornerback and Tracy Porter needed a new opportunity to prove himself.
It’s hard to say who needed this marriage more.
Porter on Tuesday announced that he’s agreed to a one-year deal to come to Oakland. ESPN reported the deal is worth $2.5 million.
For the Raiders, getting cornerback help was a necessity. Oakland’s pass defense was porous in 2012 and the team is in dire need of help in the secondary after the departure of safety/cornerback Michael Huff and cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Before Tuesday, the only corners remaining on the roster were Phillip Adams, Chimdi Chekwa and Brandian Ross.
The Raiders still need more help and are reportedly interested in former Dallas corner Mike Jenkins, a free agent, and are expected to seek help in the draft as well. Some draft analysts have projected the team will even use its No. 3 overall pick to select Alabama corner Dee Milliner.
But the addition of Porter gives the Raiders at least one player with the potential to start.
The 26-year old played last season in Denver after playing his first four in New Orleans, where he helped the Saints win a Super Bowl.
From 2008-2011, Porter had seven interceptions and 32 passes defensed. His highlight moment came in New Orleans’ Super Bowl XLIV victory over the Indianapolis Colts, when Porter returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown.
But last season, Porter played just six games for the Broncos.
First, he suffered a seizure in August, according to the Denver Post, then had recurring symptoms during the season. When he lost playing time to the malady, he then lost his job as young corners Chris Harris and Tony Carter won the confidence of the Broncos coaching staff.
Porter, always known as a gambler – a cornerback who makes big plays but also can make big mistakes – fell out of favor with the Broncos and when his one-year deal in Denver expired, he became a free agent.
Still a relatively young player, but with several years as a starter in the league, Porter knew he needed to find a team that would give him a chance to prove himself.
By signing the one-year deal in Oakland, Porter does just that.
“I am going to Oakland,” Porter said in a text message to ESPN. “They presented the best opportunity for me to get my career back on track after what transpired last season with the Denver Broncos.”
By signing with Oakland, too, Porter reunites with Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, who had been his secondary coach in New Orleans.
Bill Williamson, who covers the AFC West for ESPN.com, said the signing is good for both Porter and the Raiders.
“Porter is known as a hit-or-miss cornerback, and many around the league think he is best suited as a No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback depending on the team’s roster,” Williamson wrote. “He makes his share of plays, but he also has been known to gamble and lose.
“But because of his history with Allen and Allen’s big need at the position, this is a worthwhile pairing. Porter, who will turn 27 in August, continues a trend for Oakland this offseason. He is the seventh young player Oakland has signed.”