Rather than make splashy headlines by signing top-tier free agents to multimillion contracts, the Raiders were content Wednesday to start rebuilding their defense with the under-the-radar signings of linebacker Kaluka Maiava, tackle Pat Sims and end Jason Hunter.
The trio represent the philosophy of general manager Reggie McKenzie -- sign players with something to prove and a reputation for hard work, have them compete for a chance to start and hope for a bargain.
"We're excited to add three veterans through free agency, helping to create depth and competition on defense," McKenzie said in a release. "We'll continue to add free agency as the opportunity surfaces."
Another linebacker with a similar pedigree, Nick Roach of the Chicago Bears, was scheduled to visit the Raiders, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Also, the NFL Network reported Dan Connor, released by the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, visited the Raiders on Wednesday. He played in 14 games for Dallas last season as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.
Contract terms for the newly signed Raiders were unavailable. Oakland began the day more than $15 million under the NFL's $123 million salary cap.
Maiava, 26, started 13 games for the Cleveland Browns last season and has 22 starts in 50 games. He arrives a day after starting strong side linebacker Philip Wheeler signed with the Miami Dolphins.
Wheeler, signed by the Raiders last season for $700,000, had a strong season resulting in a contract with the Dolphins that reportedly guarantees him $13 million.
Maiava (5-foot-11½, 229 pounds) was a fourth-round draft pick in 2009 who played in a linebackers corps at USC that included NFL starters Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews and Rey Maualuga.
Sims, 27, has 23 starts in five seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals but just one in the past two years. At 6-2, 335 pounds, Sims can play over the nose at a position of need for a team that lost Desmond Bryant to Cleveland in free agency and has parted ways with veteran Richard Seymour.
Hunter, (6-4, 270 pounds) spent last season on the injured reserve list of the Denver Broncos with a triceps injury. Hunter has 23 starts and played in 88 games with the Broncos, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
Signed by the Packers as an undrafted free agent when McKenzie was in the personnel department, Hunter also played for Denver in 2011 when coach Dennis Allen was the defensive coordinator.
"After missing football for a year, I'm hungry to get out there," Hunter said by conference call. "Being able to do it with people you have familiarity with makes it a great experience."
The Raiders also signed cornerback Coye Francies, who was primarily a special-teams player last season for Oakland.