Jordan considered top running back on market

Updated: March 3, 2005, 4:39 PM ET
By John Clayton |

Already basking in the glow of their trade for receiver Randy Moss, the Oakland Raiders hours later delivered on their promise to bolster their lagging backfield.

LaMont Jordan, the top free-agent running back on the market, signed a five-year deal worth $27.5 million -- including a $7 million signing bonus -- on Thursday. Jordan will receive $11million in guaranteed money and $17.8 million over the first three years of the contract, including $15.7 in bonuses.

"He's excited about the opportunity to come in and be able to contribute on a team that he feels has the ability to get to the Super Bowl," Jordan's agent, Alvin Keels, told The Associated Press Thursday. "He wants to be an important piece of that puzzle."

Jordan, 24, backed up Curtis Martin for four seasons in New York but has yearned to be a full-time player. Jordan rushed for 479 yards on 93 carries last season and owns a career average of 4.9 yards per carry. At 5-foot-10 and 230 pounds, he is the big, physical back the Raiders had sought.

Oakland rushed for only 1,295 yards on 328 carries last year. Each week, coach Norv Turner said he was committed to improving the Raiders' production on the ground, but they continued to struggle.

Finding a talented running back was one of the club's top priorities this offseason. Amos Zereoue was the team's most productive running back during the Raiders' 5-11 season, getting 425 yards on 112 carries with three TDs -- fewer yards than Jordan produced as Martin's backup.

The addition of Jordan coincided with the Raiders' release of veteran running back Tyrone Wheatley. Defensive tackle John Parrella also was released.

John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer