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Agent: Safety Young and Raiders agree to two-year deal

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The Canadian Press
3/15/2014 1:29:31 PM
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ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Raiders agreed Saturday on a two-year deal to keep free-agent safety Usama Young after an injury-shortened first year in Oakland.

Agent Andy Simms said on Twitter that Young will sign the deal to stay in Oakland. The Raiders have not made an announcement because the contract has not yet been signed.

Oakland also formally announced that running back Darren McFadden signed his one-year contract to return to the team.

Young joined Oakland last season on a one-year deal with expectations to become the starting free safety. But a little more than a month after signing Young, the Raiders signed Charles Woodson to a one-year deal to fill that spot.

Young moved into a backup role and played well when he got his chance on defence and special teams. He started once in his 12 games before being placed on injured reserve with a neck injury in December.

With Woodson a free agent and uncertain to return to Oakland, Young could get another chance to start this season.

The 29-year-old Young had one interception, three passes defenced and 2 1/2 sacks last season with the Raiders, playing about one-quarter of the defensive snaps when healthy.

Young spent his first four seasons in New Orleans when Oakland coach Dennis Allen ran the secondary for the Saints. The two won a Super Bowl in New Orleans following the 2009 season.

Young then played two years in Cleveland before joining Oakland. He has eight interceptions, five sacks and 25 passes defenced in 2013 career games.

Young is the fifth defensive player signed so far in free agency by the Raiders, joining defensive linemen Justin Tuck, LaMarr Woodley and Antonio Smith and cornerback Tarell Brown.

While Oakland is a rebuilding process following 11 straight non-winning seasons and two years of being severely hampered by the salary cap, their moves so far on defence have been mostly short-term fixes. All five players signed are at least 29 years old.

But the Raiders had plenty of holes they needed to fill on defence. Starting defensive linemen LaMarr Houston and Vance Walker have already left as free agents, while Pat Sims and Jason Hunter are still on the market.

Cornerback Tracy Porter signed with Washington and fellow starter Mike Jenkins and Woodson are still free agents.

Bringing back Young will give some stability to a unit that likely will have new starters at all four defensive line spots, as well as both cornerback positions.

The Raiders showed signs of progress on defence early last season before wilting late in the year and allowing the second-most points per game (28.3) in franchise history. Oakland has had two of the three highest-scoring seasons allowed in coach Allen's first two years with the franchise.

McFadden has struggled to stay healthy since being picked fourth overall out of Arkansas in 2008, missing 29 games in six seasons.

McFadden had his biggest success in two years with Hue Jackson calling plays, averaging more than 5 yards per carry in 2010 and '11. But he has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry the past two seasons, second-worst in the NFL in that span to the recently retired Rashard Mendenhall.

A move from a zone-blocking to a power scheme was supposed to spark McFadden last season but he rushed for just 379 yards and averaged 3.3 yards per carry in 10 games.

But he gets a chance return on a one-year deal that guarantees him only $100,000 and could reach a maximum of $4 million.

"There is no place I'd rather be," he said. "I want to prove to the team that drafted me that I am a top running back in this league, and I really want to help this team win. I'm happy to be back in Oakland."

Usama Young (Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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