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Routt pact fits as aggressive Raiders deal before CBA expires

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- With the possibility of an NFL lockout on the horizon, Stanford Routt was happy to pass up the chance at free agency when the Oakland Raiders made him a big offer to stay off the open market.

Routt agreed to a three-year, $31.5 million deal to stay in Oakland and will be guaranteed $20 million over the first two years of the deal.

"It's a great feeling to go back to a place you're familiar with and not have to deal with the 'unknowns' and 'uncertainties,'" Routt said in a statement released by his publicist Friday. "But the work has just begun. We have a tough schedule this year. My parents always taught me 'finish what you start.'"

The Raiders have been the most aggressive team this offseason, locking up key players before the current collective bargaining agreement expires March 3 and a possible lockout follows.

Oakland has signed defensive tackle Richard Seymour to a $30 million, two-year contract, agreed to an $8 million, two-year deal with defensive tackle John Henderson, placed a franchise tag worth about $10.1 million to retain linebacker Kamerion Wimbley and signed backup running back and key special-teams player Rock Cartwright.

The Raiders have handed out more than $80 million in deals, including the franchise tag number for Wimbley, as owner Al Davis is trying to get as much work done before the possible shutdown.

"I'd like to see more teams follow the lead of the Oakland Raiders," agent Drew Rosenhaus said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "The Oakland Raiders have been aggressive in getting deals done."

Routt was a second-round pick by the Raiders in 2005 and won a starting role by his third season. He then slipped behind Chris Johnson on Oakland's depth chart and started just five games in 2008-09.

He impressed his coaches with his offseason commitment last year and won back the starting job, producing his best campaign in six years as a pro.

He intercepted two passes and had a career-high 13 passes defensed, but it was his success as a man-to-man, coverage cornerback that made him a high priority to bring back to Oakland.

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Only 13 players were targeted by opposing quarterbacks more than the 99 pass attempts he faced, according to STATS LLC, but Routt allowed just 39.4 percent of those passes to be completed. That was a vast improvement from the 62.7 percent mark he posted in his first five seasons.

Last year's performance was the lowest in the league of any player targeted at least 60 times and was comparable to the numbers put up by his more heralded teammate, Nnamdi Asomugha (39.4 percent), and New York Jets star Darrelle Revis (33.9 percent).

Routt was burned for five touchdown catches and was called for five pass interference penalties -- tied for second-most in the NFL.

With Asomugha likely to leave as a free agent, Routt will have more responsibility next season

"Stanford had a really good year last year, and there is no question he can be a number one cornerback," coach Hue Jackson said. "He proved that he can go out there on the corner and play week in and week out."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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