Even though he his role has decreased, the Oakland Raiders still consider running back Tyrone Wheatley crucial to their success.
According to an ESPN.com report, the two sides have reached an agreement in principle on a new contract. Terms of the agreement were not immediately disclosed. The contract will be signed later in the week.
Wheatley, 31, attracted interest from other teams at the start of the signing period but Oakland viewed retaining him as a priority. Wheatley also expressed desire to come back to Oakland and decided to except the team’s offer.
Wheatley played in 14 games in 2002 and rushed for 419 yards and two touchdowns on 108 carries. He also had 12 receptions for 71 yards.
The Raiders have used Charlie Garner the featured runner with Wheatley sharing the load. Oakland, however, views Wheatley’s inside running as a complement to Garner’s running and receiving skills.
Wheatley became a Raider in 1999 and enjoyed two productive seasons rushing for 1,982 yards, including a 1,046-yard performance in 2000.
Wheatley becomes the second free agent maneuver over the past week for Oakland. The team last week signed a pair of fullbacks, Cecil Martin and Chris Hetherington, to replace Jon Ritchie, who signed with Philadelphia earlier this month as an unrestricted free agent.