Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie granted a quick interview with Jerry McDonald of the Contra Costa Times after Stanford's pro day. You can see a transcript of the interview here.
He addressed a number of different issues in the interview. I encourage you to check it out, it's an interesting read. But we will sum up the conversation as well.
First, McKenzie confirmed that second year player Stefen Wisniewski will indeed be moving to Center. The only reason that wouldn't occur is if they find themselves in a position where they can get another Center that is so good they can't pass him up. That could happen in the draft or if there is an unexpected cut at a later date.
McKenzie also said that newly signed G Mike Brisiel will play RG, the position he manned in Houston. Cooper Carlisle, the Raiders right guard since 2007 was cut and then resigned a short time later. The plan is that he will move to LG at this time with Wiz sliding to Center.
McKenzie also discussed two players that many fans wanted the team to retain, Kamerion Wimbley and Michael Bush. He said that, with both of them, it had come down the the Raiders being unable to afford what the players were owed or looking for. He said he regretted that they weren't able to keep the players but still felt good about the offseason thus far because the Raiders had been able to shore up their O line and the CB position.
McKenzie also said that the reports that the Raiders have $4 Million in cap space is wrong, that they don't have nearly that much. He said that if he hadn't cut Wimbley he wouldn't have been able to sign the players he did, which is partially why it had to happen.
In the interview, McKenzie said he'll be looking at cuts and indicated that's likely where they will get the backup running back to replace Michael Bush.
When asked what the biggest position of need is, he correctly identified OLB. He said that was the only position where he really didn't have anyone to put onto the field. He didn't address if there was any particular player he had in mind for the position indicating it could be free agency or the draft.
McKenzie expressed optimism that they would get some good Compensatory picks and said he's not familiar with the formula that determines the selections.
The Compensatory picks are announced during or right after the owner's meeting, usually. The owner's meeting starts next week, on Monday and ends on Wednesday, so expect the picks to be announced mid next week.
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McKenzie is definitely rocking the boat.....I am not happy with many of his moves, and am surprised by his confidence in his direction with the Oline. Has McKenzie watched film on Barnes??? So far, it seems to me that McKenzie is writing off this upcomming season and is focused on rebuilding this team through the draft. If this is indeed the case, he better be careful. If the Raiders struggle in the next two seasons, or completely tank it next year, McKenzie could find himself out of a job.....
@Spartacus At first I thought he added Barnes for depth but when I reread it he said ", now we just need to add some depth" that means he's going in as a starter. Maybe he is just insurance in case bruce and barks dale don't pan out, atleast I'm hoping. As far as the rest of the moves Im willing to take the wait and see approach and reserve judgement. Bush basically boiled it down to $$ because he is now in an encertain situation in Chicago. We still have a dangerous offense and the D will be improved so I'm not too worried. I can see an 8-10 win season.
@Raidah I really hope McKenzie proves me wrong. Releasing all these quality players just doesn't sit well with me. So far, the players McKenzie has signed, in my opinion, are not as good as the ones we let go. Plus, Bartel, who is supposed to replace Stanford Routt as our number 1 cornerback, is recovering from a neck injury so severe, that he could be one hit away from not only ending his career, but one that could affect the rest of his life....I truely hope we can get an 8-10 win season, and if we do, I will be one happy Raider fan.....Problem for me is, I see the other teams in the AFC West making a marked improvement this offseason, on top of having a complete draft, wheras the only thing I see the Raiders concerned about is cap space, which is requiring us to release players that are very good, and is limiting us on the signing of true impact players.....I just thought that the team from last year, with a minor tweaking here and there, could have been a true force in the AFC West this season. Now, I am having serious doubts...
@nilbymouth @Spartacus @Raidah The thing is you let the guys who are overpaid leave and keep the guys who have been producing. Going by that philosophy, Seymour is way overpaid at this point in his career - and is not in the plans for the future due to his age (for example). Not knocking the guy - he brings leadership qualities to the table for sure. But is that worth $11 mil for one year? Bush only got $14 mil for FOUR years. If we had to lose Seymour to save Bush - it would have been well worth it.
All things being equal - we give McKenzie the benefit of the doubt that he's not totally trashing this team and we manage to split the division wins again - we're looking at 8-8 next season (plus or minus 1). But honestly? If we're going where I think we're going - we might get swept by our division and end up back in the 5-6 win category again. Look at the schedule - tell me where we get 10 wins with the Steelers, Saints, Ravens, Bengals and Falcons outside the division? Then you have Miami - who's had our number the last few years and Carolina on the east coast plus Cleveland who gave us a ride this year WITH those guys we cut. Then the division games - Peyton twice, all those guys on the Chiefs who want to beat their old team and San Diego who we've only swept once in a decade or so.
Folks... it's going to be a looooooooooooong season unless something big happens between now and then.
Problem is Spartacus, with the huge cap problem we were in, we weren't able to field the same team. McKenzie really had no choice but to cut guys like ROutt, Johnson, Eugene and Henderson because they were just being paid way too much money. Same with Wimbley after they were not able to re-work his deal. Wimbley is pretty fixed on the money he wanted and the two of them couldn't come to a deal that would work for both so he had to be let go. I just think we cannot blame McKenzie for that.
Man, I am concerned about McK as GM....
McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicleon Thursday. “We felt like the O-line, as a group, we solidified it big time by getting the two veterans back (Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes).....
He really thinks that resigning Barnes helped to solidify the OLine? My God......
Also is that cap number what it will be once Branch signs his Franchise Tag or currently with Branch still yet unsigned?
If Wiz is moved to Center, I hope they keep him there and don't go back to switching him to Guard again next season. Pick one or the other, leave him there and let him become one of the best.
Wimbley being cut and Bush not being re-signed for financial reasons makes perfect sense. What Bush got as a backup in Chicago is way more than this team can afford, but I truly believe we can find an adequate replacement late in the draft or an undrafted Rookie.
@nilbymouth Just really don't like how he almost celebrates the re-signings of Carlisle and Barnes!
From what he said it seems that the O-Line as of right now is:
Veldheer - Carlisle - Wiz Jr - Brisiel - KaWhiff
A lot can change and Big Barks, Campbell, Hurd and any potential rookie will be given any chance to compete and hopefully win the RT or LG spot, but even emphasizing KaWhiff as a starter is never a good thing! Really hope they don't plan on really starting him!!
A lot of OLB's still out there. Ernie Sims, Quentin Groves, Chase Blackburn are about the only ones I think would make any sense though. Good luck getting anyone other than Groves with what we've got left in the piggy bank, and I'm still not too fond of that idea. We should plan to address this in the draft.
OLB FIRST THEN RB , I REGRESS ARE WE AWW8T @ THE DE POSITION AS FOR LB IS THERE A LAWRENCE TAYLOR OUT THERE ??????