For many years, there has been a vocal contingent of Raiders fans that clamored for recognition that the league was anti-Raiders. If the schedule seemed less favorable, if the league awarded fewer prime time games - whatever the situation - there were individuals that claimed that the league didn't like the Raiders, never had.
I'm not a subscriber to this theory and if the league gifts the Raiders as kindly as it did today, no one in the future will be able to claim the league dislikes the Raiders - or, at least, not claim it and be taken seriously.
The league announced the compensatory picks for the 2012 draft today. The picks, which are derived from a proprietary formula that the league keeps a secret, are designed to compensate teams that suffer a net loss in the number of quality of their free agents.
Therefore, teams that sign a fewer number of player than they lost to free agency, or players that are substantially worse, can expect to be awarded some picks the following year.
Last season, the Raiders lost arguabley the top free agent, CB Nnamdi Asomugha, as well as TE Zach Miller, G Robert Gallery and LB Thomas Howard. The only real gain was TE Kevin Boss.
The league awarded the Raiders 3 compensatory picks which is right in line with what was expected. What was unexpected was the rounds that were awarded.
The team was awarded picks in 3 sequential rounds - a 3rd round (95th overall), a 4th round (129th overall) and a 5th round (168th overall).
When I was doing research it was very rare for teams to get a both a 3rd and a 4th and I'm not aware of any team getting a 3rd, 4th and 5th - it is, to my knowledge - unprecedented.
Even Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was surprised about it, pleasantly so. In a conference call with Bay Area media organizations today, he said, "Let me tell you something. Whatever the formula is, I love this formula. I love it. I thought I would possibly get a three, a high one for Nnamdi, and the others, obviously, this is better than what I expected. So I’m extremely excited about the compensatory picks that the league has afforded the Raiders. Hopefully we can make due and have some good picks from this."
McKenzie went on to talk about how he thinks they can find good players with all three of the compensatory picks.
Furthermore, he cleared up some questions about how the Raiders are likely to operate. The Raiders will, he said, pick the highest rated player on their board regardless of what position that player plays or how many players the Raiders already have at the position.
McKenzie also spoke about his experience at Green Bay, stating he was heavily involved with both free agency and the draft during his years there. It was unknown what his specific duties were because he worked under GMs Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson during his time in Wisconsin.
Don't expect another windfall of compensatory picks at this time next season. Under the known rules, compensatory picks are not awarded for players that are cut by the team, only by players whose contracts expire and choose to sign elsewhere. That means that most of the Raiders free agents this year, and vitually all of the big names, will not be count in the formula.
The players that the team cut and are, therefore, not included for compensatory picks next year include Kamerion Wimbley, Kevin Boss, Stanford Routt, Chris Johnson, John Henderson and Hiram Eugene.
Players that were free agents and have signed with other teams include Jason Campbell, Michael Bush and Samson Satele.
It is possible that those three and any others that sign will offset what looks to be a relatively meager class that Oakland will bring in and could still allow the team some sort of compenation next year.
Whatever next year brings, McKenzie is focused on this year, now, and will take any assitance he can get. Prior to today, Oakland had only two picks - a 5th and a 6th rounder. Now, he has five picks, total.
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