On the day the Raiders learned their road back to prominence will go through Peyton Manning, they added a veteran cornerback to their defense.
While Manning was finalizing a contract with the AFC West rival Denver Broncos, the Raiders announced the signing of Shawntae Spencer, as well as the re-signing of guard Cooper Carlisle.
Spencer was phased out of the 49ers defense last season in favor of free-agent signee Carlos Rogers and rookie Chris Culliver. A veteran of 72 NFL starts, Spencer played in just nine games with the 49ers in 2011.
Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver was on the 49ers defensive staff when Spencer was a starter there.
Oakland also added free-agent cornerback Ron Bartell to the roster Friday. Spencer will compete to start opposite Bartell along with second-year men Chimdi Chekwa and DeMarcus Van Dyke.
Oakland also has been linked to free-agent cornerback Tracy Porter of New Orleans, who returned an interception 74 yards for a touchdown against Manning in Super Bowl XLIV.
Carlisle was released last week in order to save room against the salary cap, with the Raiders telling his agent, Frank Murtha, that they were interested in bringing him back. In the meantime, the Raiders signed free agent Mike Brisiel, who was the starting guard for the Houston Texans.
It's not known whether Carlisle will provide depth, compete with Brisiel or if the Raiders might move one of the players to left guard and
The news that Manning reportedly instructed his agent to work out a deal with the Broncos on Monday, was greeted enthusiastically by Raiders free safety Michael Huff.
Huff, who restructured his contract in order to stay with the Raiders in 2012, went so far as to say he was hoping Manning would sign with Denver.
"It's great. If you want to be the best you've got to beat the best," Huff said by phone. "When he became a free agent it was where I was hoping he would go. He's a Hall of Fame quarterback, and if you're a competitor you want to go against guys like that."
Talking to the NFL Network, defensive tackle Richard Seymour joked about the potential of insomnia and then echoed Huff's thoughts.
"I thought having five kids gave me sleepless nights, now I have to deal with Peyton again," Seymour said. "In all seriousness, our league is a better league with Peyton, and we look forward to the opportunity to face a quarterback like Peyton.
"It provides a measuring stick for where you are as a defense to be the best -- and to be the best, you have to beat the best."
On Twitter as well as Internet message boards, speculation began immediately that Manning's presence would likely thrust the Raiders into the spotlight with a Sunday night or Monday night opener.
The Raiders opened last season on Monday night in Denver, winning 23-20, and hosted the Broncos in a Monday night opener in 2008, losing 41-14.
With the A's on the road in Seattle, the Raiders would be available to host a prime-time opener at O.co Coliseum on Sept. 9 or 10.
"Prime-time football, the Raiders, the Broncos, it would be the perfect scenario," Huff said.
Denver, 8-8, is the defending AFC West champion on tiebreakers and now likely the prohibitive favorite with Manning replacing Tim Tebow.
Manning has a 3-2 career record against the Raiders, winning the last three, and has completed 113 of 184 passes (61.4 percent) for 1,261 yards, 12 touchdowns and eight interceptions for a passer rating of 85.4.