Vontaze Burfict is signing with the Raiders, according to Tom Pelissero.
The #Raiders are signing LB Vontaze Burfict to a one-year contract, sources tell me and @RapSheet.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 20, 2019
The Bengals will play in Oakland next season, so they could face Burfict.
Yesterday, the Bengals officially parted ways with linebacker Vontaze Burfict after seven seasons with the team.
It was a move that many expected, as the Bengals hired a new head coach in Zac Taylor this offseason, and Burfict had one of his worst seasons this past year.
It isn’t surprising either to hear his first visit will be with a familiar face.
That didn’t take long: Vontaze Burfict is on his way to visit the #Raiders, sources tell me and @RapSheet. #Bengals cut the veteran LB yesterday and his old DC, Paul Guenther, is in Oakland.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 19, 2019
Paul Guenther opted to become the Raiders’ defensive coordinator last year after holding the same position with the Bengals since 2014. Before that, he was also Cincinnati’s linebackers’ coach, so he and Burfict have been very close since Burfict entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent.
This isn’t the first time that Burfict and the Raiders have been linked together. Prior to the 2018 draft, a rumor that the Bengals were in talks to move Burfict to Oakland for a third round pick made their way into the news cycle.
The trade ultimately didn’t happen, and we don’t know how accurate the rumors were. However, there clearly was interest in Burfict by the Raiders. The Raiders were already hosting linebackers the day Cincinnati ultimately cut Burfict, so it makes sense that they’d bring Burfict in.
Burfict started out looking like he could end up being one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Over his first two seasons, he had over 300 tackles. However, 2013 was the last time Burfict was able to play all 16 games.
Between him constantly crossing the line with his conduct on the field and getting dinged up, it was hard for Burfict to get on the field. He was unquestionably the heart and soul of the Bengals defense, but there was no question that sometimes he failed to keep those emotions in check, and it ended up costing the Bengals.
Of course, no Bengals fan will ever forget the 2015 WIld Card game against Pittsburgh. He set up the Bengals for their first playoff win of the Marvin Lewis era when he intercepted Landry Jones.
Jeremy Hill ended up fumbling the ball on the next possession. Then, Burfict had an unnecessary roughness call on Antonio Brown followed by Adam Jones getting flagged as well, which led to an easy game-winning field goal for Pittsburgh.
Last year, conditioning was a huge issue for Burfict as well. He came in off his four-game PED suspension looking out of shape, and he played like it all season.
Of course, he also recorded his seventh concussion of his NFL career, which isn’t something anyone should brush off. That is a serious number of concussions, and something he can hopefully avoid through the rest of his career.
What do you think about Burfict possibly reuniting with Guenther in Oakland?