Team tells Gannon he has a job

Updated: May 25, 2004, 12:12 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Kerry Collins signed with the Oakland Raiders on Monday, ending his monthlong search for a team and raising questions about the future of 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon.

The deal, for $16 million over three years including about $5 million in guarantees, could jeopardize Gannon's spot on the roster, although the quarterback's agent, Tom Condon of IMG, told ESPN.com's John Clayton that the Raiders have reassured Gannon about his job in the past 24 hours.

"Rich said the Raiders told him that there is not going to be a change in his status," Condon said Monday. "I think Rich is okay."

Gannon has a $7 million salary and an $8.928 million salary cap number. He has vowed not to play for less than $7 million.

The Raiders could release other players to stay under the cap and still sign their rookies, but it would be easy to let Gannon go and have Collins as the starter. Gannon also could be asked to restructure his contract to reduce the cap number so he can stay with the team without taking a pay cut.

Collins, a nine-year NFL veteran, was released by the Giants on April 28, four days after they acquired Eli Manning, the No. 1 pick in the draft. Collins is the kind of quarterback Raiders owner Al Davis has always coveted: big and strong-armed.

"Kerry is a highly productive performer who will add to what is already a talented position," Raiders coach Norv Turner said.

The 31-year-old Collins led the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance in 2001, and that was certainly an appealing factor for the Raiders. Oakland's fall to 4-12 last season was the worst collapse by a team that played in the Super Bowl the previous season.

Collins gives the Raiders two quarterbacks who lost in the NFL title game.

"I'm looking forward to playing in front of the Raider Nation," Collins said in a statement. "I want them to know that I'm going to give everything I've got."

The Giants shed $8.95 million from their salary cap when they cut Collins, who threw for 3,110 yards with 13 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season. He started 67 straight games for New York until spraining an ankle and missing the final three games in 2003.

The 38-year-old Gannon, knocked out of the Raiders' 17-10 loss to Kansas City on Oct. 20, ended the season on injured reserve, and so did his backup, Marques Tuiasosopo.

The Raiders have said Gannon is completely healthy after having shoulder surgery in November to repair a torn labrum and is still their No. 1 quarterback.

After Oakland's embarrassing finish, Gannon criticized the Raiders. He said he believes he unfairly became the organization's scapegoat in the first seven weeks of the season when no one stepped forward to take responsibility for the failures.

During the Raiders' 2002-03 Super Bowl season, Gannon led the league's top offense and broke the NFL completions record with 418 on the way to league MVP honors. He led the league with 4,689 yards passing.

Condon said he thinks the Raiders don't plan to cut Gannon for now.

If the Raiders release Gannon after June 1, they will save $7 million under the cap.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE