Ex-Broncos lineman Carlisle agrees with Raiders

Updated: April 13, 2007, 11:03 AM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Unrestricted free agent Cooper Carlisle, one of the few starting-caliber offensive linemen still available in the veteran unrestricted free agent talent pool, has reached a contract agreement with the Oakland Raiders.

Carlisle
Carlisle
Carlisle, 29, played the first seven years of his career with the Denver Broncos. The Raiders saw the chance to get a quality player from a division rival as a bit of a coup. Carlisle will sign a two-year contract, the financial details of which were not yet available.

With 38 career starts, including 16 starts at right guard in each of the last two seasons, Carlisle figures to quickly challenge for a job in the Oakland lineup. The Raiders are revamping their offensive line after surrendering a league-worst 72 sacks in 2006, and are transitioning to a zone-blocking scheme under first-year head coach Lane Kiffin.

For his entire Denver tenure, Carlisle played in the zone-blocking scheme, which calls for smaller, quicker offensive linemen. His familiarity with the blocking system system should give Carlisle an edge in competing for a starting job and should help speed implementation of the new style in Oakland.

Over the last few weeks, Carlisle has been one of the league's most popular and well-traveled players in the second wave of free agency. He visited with officials from Seattle, Houston and Tampa Bay before meeting Wednesday with the Raiders. Once he felt comfortable with the staff and the direction of the team, he agreed to the two-year deal.

Denver is expected to elevate second-year veteran Chris Kuper or former New Orleans starter Montrae Holland, who was signed as an unrestricted free agent last month, into the vacancy created by Carlisle's departure. Carlisle joins Jeremy Newberry and Cornell Green as veteran linemen added by the Raiders in free agency.

A fourth-round choice of the Broncos in the 2000 draft, Carlisle began his career playing mostly at tackle before the former University of Florida star settled in at guard. He has appeared in 95 games.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

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