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Raiders add veteran OL Stephon Heyer

The Oakland Raiders are still not content with their offensive line and in an attempt to help remedy what could potentially be a problem area, they have signed former Washington Redskins offensive tackle, Stephon Heyer. According to SF Gate writer, Vittorio Tafur, Heyer announced the signing on his Facebook page, though the Raiders have yet to confirm it. Heyer was originally signed by Washington as an undrafted free agent out of Maryland in 2007.

According to Comcast Sport Net, Heyer was on the verge of being cut before the 2010 season, but ended up starting five games and played in 12 for the Redskins during the season. CSN reports that his 28 career starts for the Redskins during the past three seasons are more a reflection of Washington’s desperation up front than Heyer’s abilities. But in this league, starts are still starts and the fact that he’s started 33 games over his four years in the NFL counts for something.

Heyer had thought that he would have a 50-50 shot of re-signing with the Redskins, but apparently that didn’t work out. Now he’ll join a semi-desperate Oakland Raiders squad and compete with Khalif Barnes and rookie Joseph Barksdale for the vacated right tackle spot.

Heyer is 6’6” so you know he has a good wingspan. Reportedly he has dropped 10-12 pounds to get himself down from playing in the 330 lb. range last season. According to Pro Football Reference, Heyer was charged with five sacks last season in his limited time. Hopefully with the lighter version and better coaching, he can get that number down this year. That will be a lot easier to do if he isn’t the starter.

Although the Redskins did not re-sign him this year, Mike Shanahan still had some kind words for Heyer following the season, “I thought Heyer did some good things last year, and he was hurt,” Shanahan said. “I think it’s untapped ability, and if he’s willing to work hard, I think he’s got a chance to be a player. The question is, ‘How hard will he work in this offseason to get to the next level?’ And I’m hoping he does.”

Chris Russell, a Redskins beat reporter for ESPN 980 AM, says that Heyer and the Redskins most likely parted ways because Heyer is not a good fit in Shanahan’s zone blocking scheme. That could work out well for the Raiders, who are looking to move into a more diverse power blocking scheme.

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