Raiders cut ties with Brooks after one season
ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders, who own the No. 1 pick in April's NFL draft, cut ties with Aaron Brooks on Thursday, declining to pick up the option on the quarterback's contract after one difficult season.
Brooks, who would have been due a $5 million roster bonus if he had stayed on the roster, failed to win any of his eight starts with the Raiders. The quarterback, who signed with Oakland after six seasons with the New Orleans Saints, will now look to join his third team in as many years.
The timing of Brooks' release is interesting because the Raiders and first-year coach Lance Kiffin are in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine, where former LSU quarterback JaMarcus Russell will work out and is a candidate to be selected as the top pick. Russell and Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn are considered the two top quarterbacks in this year's draft.
Brooks' release saves the Raiders $5.72 million of salary cap room.
Brooks' one season in Oakland got off to a disastrous start when he was sacked seven times in a season-opening 27-0 loss to the Chargers. He got hurt after fumbling two snaps from center the following week in Baltimore and missed the next seven games with a strained pectoral muscle.
Brooks played better after his return in November, but still was unable to generate a win for his new team. He finished the season with a passer rating of 61.7 after completing 57.3 percent of his passes and throwing eight interceptions and three touchdown passes. He was sacked 26 times in eight games.
The problems on Oakland's offense went much deeper than the quarterback. Receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter were disgruntled and unproductive all season, running back LaMont Jordan went down with a season-ending knee injury in the same game Brooks returned from his injury, and the offensive line was one of the worst in the league.
Brooks acknowledged late in the season that he never could have imagined all that went wrong in his one season with the Raiders.
Oakland scored just 168 points in 2006, the fifth fewest in a 16-game season, and failed to score on offensive touchdown in eight games. Offensive coordinator Tom Walsh, who had been out of the NFL for more than a decade before returning to the Raiders, was demoted late in the season.
Head coach Art Shell was fired following the 2-14 season, the worst in owner Al Davis' more than four decades with the franchise. Lane Kiffin replaced Shell and has overhauled the offensive coaching staff.
With third-string quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo expected to leave as a free agent, Andrew Walter likely will be the only quarterback to return from last season. Walter went 2-6 in place of the injured Brooks last season, struggling with turnovers and accuracy.
Walter threw 13 interceptions, lost nine fumbles and was sacked 46 times. He completed only 53.3 percent of his passes, threw for three touchdowns and had a passer rating of 55.8.
Information from The Associated Press and ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton was used in this report.
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