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Oakland Raiders (25) Justin Fargas gets past Indianapolis Colts (97) Quinn Pitcock in the fourth quarter to score a touchdown, at McAfee Coliseum Sunday December 16, 2007. The Colts beat the Raiders with a final score of 21-14. (Anda Chu/The Oakland Tribune)
The Raiders re-signed running back Justin Fargas on Wednesday in a move that resolves one of their most pressing issues long before training camp opens.

Fargas, 28, signed a three-year, $12 million contract that includes $6 million guaranteed this season, according to his agent, Stephen Baker. It's conceivable that Fargas could earn as much as $14 million if he reaches certain performance levels.

"Justin really wanted to remain with the Raiders, and the Raiders made it clear that they wanted him back," Baker said. "He feels the offense very much suits his talents."

The proof is in the statistics Fargas compiled last season. He rushed for 1,009 yards on only 222 carries and scored four touchdowns, all career-highs, in his breakout season.

Fargas entered the season as the backup to LaMont Jordan and appeared destined to finish his fifth season with the Raiders in much the same way he did his first four, as an afterthought.

He amassed only 82 yards through Oakland's first three games, as Jordan ran wild from the outset. However, Jordan sustained a back injury late in the first half of Oakland's fourth game and was replaced by Fargas.

Fargas rushed for 179 yards that game and 917 in an 11-game span before he sustained a season-ending right knee injury. Jordan was relegated to spot duty the rest of the way, even when he was healthy enough to play.

Re-signing Fargas makes it more likely that the Raiders will cut Jordan. The move also makes it less likely that the Raiders will bring back running back Dominic Rhodes for a second season and all but rules out their using a first-round pick in the NFL draft on Arkansas running back Darren McFadden.

Fargas could not be reached for comment. The Raiders confirmed the signing in a news release.

Next up for the Raiders is deciding how best to retain the services of top-notch cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Raiders are intent upon re-signing Asomugha. Now it's a matter of whether to bestow upon him a long-term contract or apply the franchise tag.

The latter route would guarantee Asomugha the average salary of the five-highest paid cornerbacks from 2007, or $9.47 million, for this season.

The Raiders have until Feb. 21 to apply the franchise tag. It's a safe bet that they will do so if a long-term contract isn't hammered out by then, because they wouldn't want to risk losing Asomugha to one of the league's 31 other teams once free agency begins Feb. 29.

Contact Steve Corkran at scorkran@bayareanewsgroup.com.