ALAMEDA, Calif. (March 22, 2006) -- The Oakland Raiders found their replacement for Kerry Collins, signing quarterback Aaron Brooks to a two-year contract to compete for the starting job.
The 29-year-old Brooks was cut last week by New Orleans when the Saints signed Drew Brees, one of the most coveted free agents available this year.
Brooks started 13 games for New Orleans last season, completing 240 of 431 passes for 2,882 yards and 13 touchdowns against 17 interceptions.
"Oh, sweet," receiver Alvis Whitted said in a phone interview. "I'm glad that we do have a new quarterback. I'm sure he'll fit right in with what we're trying to get done here. I'm sure the coaches are excited. From what I've seen of him play, he's done some great things. He's very athletic, a mobile quarterback and very intelligent, too. He's a great fit for us, and we're happy to have him."
Brooks, who had started 82 straight games before being benched for the final three games of 2005, spent the past six seasons with the Saints after playing for Green Bay in his first NFL campaign in 1999.
Brooks, a fourth-round draft pick by the Packers out of Virginia, was one of few capable quarterbacks left on the market this offseason.
"Aaron gives us great depth at the quarterback position and provides us with a veteran presence," new Raiders coach Art Shell said.
Oakland parted ways with Collins on March 10 in an expected salary-cap move.
The 33-year-old Collins went 7-21 in two seasons as Oakland's starter and said at the end of the season he was willing to restructure his deal but would not play for "peanuts."
When the team cut Collins, Shell was left to consider Marques Tuiasosopo and Andrew Walter as leading candidates for the position.
Tuiasosopo has only two starts in his five-year career. In 2003, he replaced the injured Rich Gannon to start against the Detroit Lions but suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee in the first half.
Tuiasosopo started one game last season against the New York Jets after Collins was benched but turned the ball over four times in the 26-10 loss and Collins regained the starting job the following week.
Walter, a third-round pick out of Arizona State last year, didn't play as a rookie. He threw for 85 touchdowns and 10,617 yards during his college career.
The Raiders scored only 51 points -- with only six touchdowns -- in their final five games, and lost their last six overall and eight of nine despite an offense featuring Collins, Randy Moss, LaMont Jordan and Jerry Porter. At 4-12, they finished with one fewer victory than in fired coach Norv Turner's first season a year ago.
Perhaps the most glaring statistic is Oakland's failure to win a division game for the first time since owner Al Davis came aboard in 1963 to coach and eventually own the team. The Raiders went 1-11 against the AFC West during Turner's two seasons.
The Associated Press News Service
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