Raiders benefit from 49er leftovers

Marino Dominguez, Columnist

On October 16, it happened again: a revered 49er superstar — one loved by both fans and coaches — made his short and long-awaited trip to the other side of the Bay to join the Oakland Raiders.

This time it was All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman, a free agent who signed to play for the Raiders after the 49ers released him.

Trading players across the Bay is a common occurrence, and usually turns out favorable for the Raiders. Some of the biggest names in Raiders’ history are “recycled” players from the 49ers, many of whom were traded because the 49ers thought they lacked talent or just weren’t worth the problems they created.

One of the greatest Raiders ever, quarterback Jim Plunkett, played one year with the 49ers before playing for the Raiders, where he led the team to two Super Bowl Championships in 1981 and 1984.

Another 49er superstar, safety Ronnie Lott, joined the L.A. Raiders for two seasons after 10 years with the 49ers, earning himself a Pro Bowl appearance with the Raiders in 1991.

In 2001, the Raiders also acquired one of the greatest wide receivers of all time: Jerry Rice. Accumulating 243 catches for 3,286 yards in a little over three years, Rice is still considered one of the greatest players to pass through Oakland from the 49ers.

Many players, like linebacker Bill Romanowski, joined the team just in time to be on the 2002 AFC title winning Raiders squad.

In 2015, wide receiver Michael Crabtree joined the Raiders and led the team in touchdowns and receptions per game last year, helping the team make the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

Although the Raiders haven’t truly lived up to expectations this season, the acquisition of Navorro Bowman for the struggling Oakland secondary may serve as an important upgrade to a defense that runs close to last against the run.

The Raiders looked to have lost their stride from last year, going from 12-4 last year to already losing five games. But things are on the upside; with a win in Miami on November 5, Oakland now owns the second spot in the AFC West at 4-5, with the Chiefs topping the division at 6-3.

In order to win the division, the Raiders must win nearly all of their final games this year, including matchups against the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs, and the Dallas Cowboys (all currently have winning records).

The road to the promise land is tough, but with explosive passes from Derek Carr, an increasingly familiar looking Beast Mode from the running game and All-Pro linebacker Navorro Bowman leading the defense, the Raiders have all the essentials to take the division and possibly venture deep into the playoffs.