The Oakland Raiders could be without one of their potential starters because of issues off the field. Kaluka Maiava has been charged with third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal property damage. The charges stem from an incident that took place on March 17, in which the linebacker and brother are accused of beating up two men.
Oakland has yet to comment on the matter and it’s unknown what Maiava’s future with the team will be. However, the organization may have to get used to life without the 26-year-old, who could face up to a year in jail.
Maiava signed a three-year, $6 million contract with the Raiders just a few days before the alleged crime. He spent the first four years of his career with the Cleveland Browns and has a chance to earn a starting spot on the Raiders defense.
If Oakland is forced to enter the 2013 season without Maiava, they may look to free agency to find a linebacker who can contend for a starting spot. In the middle of July, the team’s options are limited, but there are a few available players that can be had to contribute to their linebacking corps.
Nick Barnett, a 10-year veteran, has yet to sign with a team after four months of free agency. The linebacker has played all 16 games in three of the last four seasons. He’s started every game he’s played in since entering the NFL and might be the best linebacker that hasn’t signed with a team.
Both Takeo Spikes and Bradie James could also be options for Oakland. The two have played a combined 25 seasons in the league, but were still productive in 2013. James has missed just one game since 2004, while Spikes has sat out just three times in the past six seasons.
This late in free agency, the Raiders won’t be able to find an impactful younger player. A veteran presence, though, may be their best bet.