The Raiders have upgraded their linebacker corps with the signing of former Ram Cory Littleton. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders are set to sign Cory Littleton, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). When the league year opens on Wednesday, Littleton will ink a three-year deal worth up to $36M. The base value – which may be closer to the true value of the deal, depending on the incentives – will pay him just over $35M.

The Rams wanted to keep Littleton, but their budget was stretched. This offseason, the Rams put a greater focus on retaining players like Andrew Whitworth, Austin Blythe, Michael Brockers, and Dante Fowler, leaving little room to retain the 26-year-old (27 in November).

Littleton, a University of Washington product, went from part-timer to starter in 2018 and wound up earning his first career Pro Bowl nod. Last year, he kept up the good work – in the two seasons combined, he tallied 7.5 sacks, even though much of his attention was focused on coverage. He has graded as one of the league’s best coverage linebackers in each of the past two seasons and will profile as a three-down defender for the Raiders.

The Raiders have been on the hunt for new linebackers, especially after cutting Tahir Whitehead last week. Now, between Littleton and new addition Nick Kwiatkoski, they’re in pretty good shape.

Last year, the Raiders opted for low-cost veterans Vontaze Burfict and Brandon Marshall but saw the latter struggle with injury and end up not making the team and the former suspended for most of the season. But in Jon Gruden‘s third year, he’s leaving less to chance at the linebacker spot. Las Vegas has shelled out cash to shore up a position the franchise has not allocated much in the way of resources toward in many years.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.


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