Benson Mayowa has made a living in the NFL as a journeyman pro, a defensive end who can start or add depth.
Only 27, Mayowa enters his seventh season in the league and will play for the Raiders again after spending the 2014 and 2015 seasons in Oakland. Those years were sandwiched between stints with Seattle (2013), Dallas (2016-17) and Arizona (2018).
This week Mayowa signed a free-agent deal to return with the Raiders on a one-year deal worth as much as $3 million.
While the Raiders will no doubt bring in more firepower for the defensive line through the draft that begins on April 25, Mayowa gives Oakland experience and a player capable of making plays against the run and pass.
In 15 games for Arizona last season, he had four starts, four sacks, 11 quarterback hits, a forced fumble, was in on 38 tackles and had 11 tackles for loss.
In his two previous seasons with the Raiders, he had a combined three starts, 30 tackles and two sacks, with a safety.
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Mayowa, who played at Idaho, says he was excited to come to Oakland because defensive coordinator Paul Guenther called him recently to recruit him. He loved that Guenther “was straight ahead” about wanting Mayowa.
Mayowa says he’s a better player now than he was in 2014 and 2015 with the Raiders.
“I’m just more mature,” he told Eddie Paskal of the team’s website. “The game slowed down, a lot. When you’re young, playing NFL football, it’s much, much faster. It’s much more mental. You can be the fastest, you can jump the highest, but if you don’t know where the plays are going, if you don’t know positioning, or how to react to certain things, then that kind of makes you (not effective).”
Now, he says, he has that knowledge and experience and is eager to contribute in a bigger way in 2019.