Unrestricted free agent quarterback Aaron Brooks, the former New Orleans starter released last week after the Saints signed Drew Brees, has reached agreement with the Oakland Raiders on a two-year contract.
Financial details of the contract were not yet available, but league sources said Brooks' compensation will be commensurate to that of many starters in the league, averaging between $4 million-$5 million. The contract will be signed later this week.
The agreement provides the Raiders, whose quarterback depth chart included only untested youngsters Marques Tuiasosopo and Andrew Walter, with a proven starter and a veteran who has amassed impressive numbers in the past. Oakland recently released Kerry Collins, its starter the past two seasons, for salary cap considerations, and has been considering a number of potential replacements.
"It was a win-win scenario," said Brooks' agent, Mason Ashe.
"They have a lot of potential, a lot of firepower. It looked like
they were just missing the ingredient he adds -- a quarterback of
his caliber who has his skills."
It is not surprising that the Raiders settled on Brooks, because he has the kind of live arm and deep passing skills that owner Al Davis has long coveted.
Brooks, 29, met with Raiders coaches and team officials over the past two days and actually prolonged his stay by one day when Oakland indicated it might be interested in signing him. There was also interest over the weekend from Green Bay, the team with which Brooks began his NFL career in 1999.
But the deal with the Raiders, one of the few franchises in the league without a projected starter heading into the spring minicamps, certainly represented Brooks' best opportunity to regain his status atop some club's quarterback depth chart. Tuisasosopo is a terrific athlete, but only has limited experience in his five seasons, and has been inconsistent when given a chance to play. Walter is a big, strong-armed passer, but the third-round choice in 2005 did not take a snap as a rookie.
Some believe that Walter might be the Raiders' quarterback of the future, but the former Arizona State star needs time to develop, and the two-year contract with Brooks will give the Raiders a chance to groom him.
In 85 games, including 82 starts, Brooks has completed 1,563 of 2,771 passes for 19,156 yards, with 120 touchdown passes and 84 interceptions. He has thrown for over 2,800 yards in a season five times and had four straight 3,000-yard campaigns snapped last season. The former University of Virginia standout, chosen by the Packers in the fourth round in 1999 and then traded to New Orleans in 2000, averaged 15.4 starts per season from 2001-2005.
Brooks started all 16 games in every season from 2001-2004, but then was benched for the final month of the 2005 campaign, snapping that streak. While there is no denying Brooks' physical tools, some teammates have questioned his leaderships skills and toughness under fire. Quiet by nature, Brooks can be aloof at times and some have perceived that as a lack of passion.
That said, he was arguably the best starting-caliber quarterback still available in the free agent pool and is still young enough to have several productive seasons.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.