Nick Roach isn't sure where he'll be playing when he lines up as a Raider starting linebacker in 2013.
Signed as an unrestricted free agent to a multiyear contract Friday, Roach is versatile enough to have plugged the gap against Adrian Peterson for the Chicago Bears as a middle linebacker and covered Calvin Johnson in the slot from the strong side.
It was immediately speculated Roach would be the replacement for Rolando McClain, who remains on the Raiders roster but will be released or traded before he is due a $4 million salary.
"They kind of just said they see me being able to do a lot of things that they want to do, so specifically the middle, I'm not sure if that will be the case,'' Roach told Bay Area media via conference call.
A veteran of 80 games and 59 starts with the Bears since 2007, Roach joins fellow free-agent signee Kaluka Maiava and incumbent weakside starter Miles Burris as projected starting linebackers.
Roach started the last five games for the Bears last season in the middle because of an injury to Brian Urlacher. Roach started 29 games over the past two seasons. The Bears were actively seeking to keep him on the roster.
ESPN-Chicago reported that Bears general manager Phil Emery said his team attempted to sign Roach but was up against the salary cap and Roach "wouldn't make the necessary adjustments," accepting the Raiders' offer instead.
Roach became the fourth defensive player and potential
In the market for cornerbacks, the Raiders confirmed a visit with Cincinnati free agent Terence Newman. Newman, 34, played in 16 games with two interceptions and 10 passes defensed after nine seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Roach thought playing in the middle at the end of the season and learning from Urlacher and linebacker Lance Briggs made him more marketable.
"It was huge. You don't even know yourself that you can do something until you have a chance to really do it," Roach said. "It was big for being able to get the film out there and just for the confidence of feeling like your versatility is really worth something."
Roach will be in Baltimore this weekend as the recipient of the Bears' Ed Block Courage Award, given to the player on each team who exemplifies principles of sportsmanship and courage. It suggests that Roach will be a positive influence in the locker room.
"What it says to me is you're able to earn the respect of your teammates and your locker room,'' Roach said. "It's obviously a huge honor, when you can get an award that's voted on strictly by the guys that you play with."