Kerry Collins may not have elicited the most excitement or even a modicum of team success as a Raiders quarterback, but he was coming off a 3,759-yard passing season with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 15 games in 2005. And he wanted to come back in 2006.
The Raiders, though, decided to go in an entirely different direction with Art Shell returning for his second tour of duty as Raiders coach by replacing Norv Turner , signing Brooks to a two-year, $9 million contract after five solid seasons starting for the New Orleans Saints.
But things got off to a bad start – Brooks was sacked seven times in a 27-0 season-opening loss to the San Diego Chargers – and never really got better.
Brooks lost a pair of fumbled snaps in Week 2 at the Baltimore Ravens and strained a pectoral muscle in the process as he did not play again for two months. By the time the season ended, Brooks never won a game, going 0-8 as a starter, while throwing three touchdown passes, eight interceptions and completing 57.3 percent of his passes for a career-low passer rating of 61.7. He was also sacked 26 times in his eight starts.
Of course, it was not all Brooks’ fault – the Raiders of 2006 were an utter mess. It was the season of Tom Walsh coming from running a bed and breakfast to serve as Shell’s offensive coordinator, before he was demoted, and of receivers Randy Moss and Jerry Porter essentially mailing it in, and running back LaMont Jordan being lost for the season in the same game Brooks returned from his injury.
Whether it was Brooks or Andrew Walter under center, those Raiders were historically bad, scoring the fifth-fewest points in league history in a 16-game season (168) while failing to score an offensive touchdown in eight games.
But it was Brooks who was brought in to lead the team ... and it was Brooks who paid for the failure as the Raiders did not pick up his option for the second year. He never played another down in the NFL.
Another lasting legacy of Brooks? Oakland went 2-14, the worst of any Al Davis Raiders team, and had the No. 1 overall pick in the draft ... which they used to select JaMarcus Russell.
Top 5 free-agent signings
5. Jerry Rice
4. John Matuszak
3. Rich Gannon
2. George Blanda
1. Jim Plunkett
Bottom 5 free-agent signings
5. Mike Brisiel
4. Aaron Brooks