The Raiders are unlikely to make an early splash in free agency but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be able to find some great players.
The Raiders have needs on the offensive line and the defensive line, in the linebacking corps and in the secondary. They also have to find a starting tight end.
Not all of these positions will come in free agency, of course, but the Raiders can find some good value in a free agency that lacks some of the blue-chip, marquee players of past free agencies but has a good depth at some positions in which the Raiders need help.
Specifically, there are a number of experienced, if older, cornerbacks and linebackers that have been released in recent days and weeks.
These Raiders may not jump on any position right away but the depth in the position will allow them to leverage a buyer’s market for the service of one or two of their favorite players at these positions.
Per Vic Tafur, the Raiders are most likely to re-sign Phillip Wheeler – with whom they’ve already started negotiations – as well as RB Mike Goodson, SS Mike Mitchell and CB Joselio Hanson.
Once the league year starts – at 4pm tomorrow, also the start of free agency – the Raiders will be able to cut two players and designate them as June 1st cuts.
The advantage of doing this is that players that are cut after June 1st or the two players allowed as a June 1st cut allow the team to spread the cap hit against the team over two seasons.
Expect LB Rolando McClain to be cut in this way and, at this point, it seems likely that the Raiders may designate two players, the maximum per team, as June 1st cuts. If this is the case, Tommy Kelly would be another good option.
The Raiders’ strategy will likely be similar to last year – identify their target players, bring them in, sell them in their system and try to sell them on the team and the environment.
Don’t expect too many big names but the Raiders will try to do what they did with Phillip Wheeler and Joselio Hanson – identify players that may not have been used correctly on their previous team or have potential to be role players.
The Raiders under Reggie McKenzie are trying to build a sustained winning environment and that doesn’t come easily.
It’s clear when listening to Reggie McKenzie that’s he’s very aware of the team under him and its dynamics. He can talk at length about the strengths and weaknesses.
It’s also clear that McKenzie has a plan to grow the team. Time will tell whether that plan is a success or a failure but for my money, growing the team patiently, piece by piece, trying to find the right players with the right team dynamics is the right way to do it.
For news and thoughts on the Raiders throughout the day, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
Photo by Levi Damien
The problem with taking the long view is you can't keep players on the squad. I'm all for building a "sustained" winning environment - but one has to understand that means bringing in a LOT of good players QUICK. We're living in the FA era - not the 60s, 70s or 80s when it was very easy to keep your good players. Now anyone in the league can throw money at them, so even if we do pick up a ton of young, cheap players and turn them into studs (which - quite frankly - did NOT happen in the last offseason) - once we're competitive they will be higher priced and looking at contracts from everyone who needs them - not just us. So build a "sustained winning environment" - "piece by piece"? Sure - who doesn't want that? But it has to be done with a sense of urgency.
So far as the cap - we could have done a lot there last season that we didn't (and we can do a lot now that we're not doing). Contracts are not guaranteed in the NFL. So for all the handwringing that goes on with the ESPN crowd over the money - all it takes is a little ingenuity and creative thinking. Your record is who you are - we are 4-12. Third worst team in the league - if we cut EVERYBODY - how much worse could we be? WORST record? That's only 2 slots down, folks (and the number 1 pick is waiting there as a consolation prize).
@AsherMathews so what was the number one response you get for team the Raiders should emulate?
@AsherMathews does free agency period start at 4pm Pacific time?
I'm afraid that RM, is clearing cap space by restructuring now, but is screwing us in the long run and delaying the cap problem.
Lets hope Mark Davis see's it the same way. Hey it's only been 10 years...................patience, what's one more year. We can't keep blowing this team up every two years.
@dondiraider Myers is not suited for the PBS! In the PBS it is Essentials that the TE is able to overpower and shield outside rushers, be it LBs or DEs, but Myers lacks the strength and technique to do this! He was a pleasant surprise in moving the chains, but a lot of that was scheme and unimaginative Knapp playcalling, so his stats are probably inflated! They want another TE that is more complete probably, so Myers Will get a better offer elswhere i would think..
@dondiraider Yeah, they must think Brisiel can be a good presence when healthy, hopefully, but the jury is out and he Will be exposed of he as reported is lacking strength! They must have a better idea than we do though - he could be bulking up to add strength for the PBS! ... Still hate his false start issues though (have been following him from Texans)! Aussey is interesting and with huge potential IF he can add the blocking talents that DA prefers! He is big and strong enough, think an extra yearworking at it could have him showing great improvements - he will be interesting to watch, im rooting for him! Big Bear Gordon as well - physical monster that one!
@dondiraider Lets give Ausberry a shot - I keep seeing that ball bounce off Myers hands against Tampa in the end zone - yeah that's a player.........let him go. maybe we get a comp pick in '14 for him.
@Raiders52 @dondiraider yea man ausberry is from my neck of the woods that boy is a beast of a man with tree trunk arms he can catch just as good as myers just needs to be refined some would love to see him on the field more maybe its this yr maybe not but either way i bleed silver and black so ill be watching