Tahir Whitehead is off the market. The veteran linebacker has reportedly agreed to sign with the Oakland Raiders. According to reports, the deal is for three years, and worth over $18 million. More than half of that money is guaranteed.
Raiders announced they have signed former Lions’ LB Tahir Whitehead.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2018
It’s a 3-year deal worth more than $6M per year. Of the $18M total, more than half is guaranteed https://t.co/aat1ygQkBM
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2018
Oakland Raiders Sign Tahir Whitehead
Whitehead entered the NFL as a fifth-round selection of the Detroit Lions. He played his high school football in New Jersey and then went to Temple for college. He initially played defensive back while with the Owls, but moved to linebacker before his junior season. In that 2010 campaign, Whitehead had 56 tackles (34 solo, 7.5 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He continued to improve in his senior season. In 2011, he had 70 tackles (46 solo), 13.5 TFL and 5.0 sacks. He was named second-team All-MAC.
Whitehead had average numbers in the 2012 NFL Combine. He ran a 4.7 40 yard dash and had a 7.14 three-cone drill. Additionally, his Pro Day was roughly identical (4.68 and 7.18 respectively).
Whitehead was mostly a special teams contributor for his first two seasons with the Lions. He did not start a single game and had nine total tackles (seven solo) to go along with two forced fumbles. In 2014, Whitehead stepped into the starting linebacker role with the Lions. He started 15 games that year and registered 91 tackles (70 solo) and a career-high two interceptions.
The 2015 campaign was a down year statistically. Whitehead only started nine games, though he was available for all 16. He managed just 47 tackles (36 solo). However, he was able to make an impact with his playing time, registering 2.0 sacks and an interception. While this was not spectacular, it was enough to convince the Lions to re-sign Whitehead. Whitehead and the team reached an agreement on a two-year, $8 million contract.
Whitehead continued as the starting middle linebacker in the Lions scheme. He rewarded the Lions’ confidence by putting up a very good 2016. Whitehead put up 132 tackles (99 solo) and matched a career-high six passes defended. He followed this with a 2017 season with 110 tackles (78 solo), 1.0 sack, one interception and four fumble recoveries.
While not particularly fast, Whitehead is smart and possesses leadership abilities. He is 6’2″ and 241 pounds. His career pass defense numbers and pass rushing statistics are not impressive, but he is a four-year starter and finds the ball well. While Whitehead’s numbers were slightly down in 2017, some of this was due to the presence of 2017 first-round selection Jarrad Davis.