The Raiders used the No. 4 pick of the 2008 NFL draft on Darren McFadden with the intent of turning him into the featured running back.

The release of Justin Fargas on Saturday clears the way for McFadden to assume a heightened role next season, assuming he gets the nod ahead of Michael Bush.

Fargas, 30, was due a $1.7 million roster bonus Monday, and the Raiders weren't in a mood to pay such money for a player considered old by running back standards.

"Justin Fargas was a beloved Raider who performed at a high level throughout his seven seasons with the team, and his contributions to the Silver and Black will always be remembered," the Raiders said in a statement released later Saturday. "We wish Justin all the best."

Fargas rushed for 491 yards last season, but averaged only 3.8 yards. By comparison, Bush rushed for a team-high 589 yards at a 4.8 average.

Overall, Fargas amassed 3,369 yards and 10 touchdowns during his seven-year NFL career. He was the longest-tenured position player on the roster, along with linebacker Sam Williams.

Fargas was a favorite of Raiders coach Tom Cable because of his no-nonsense approach and reckless style of play. Former Raiders coach Lane Kiffin once likened Fargas to a human crash-test dummy.

McFadden averaged only 3.4 yards a carry last season. Cable said late last month that injuries are the primary thing standing between McFadden and a more successful NFL career.

That's even more so the case now that Fargas no longer is around to take a large share of the carries.

It's likely that Cable will take a long look at McFadden and Bush during training camp and devise a way to maximize the potential of both players through a two-back rotation.