Let's look at free agency and the qualities that should be looked at when making a choice. I am not going to make suggestions as to who we should pick up, since so many of you have provided far more excellent examples than are needed. Al has picked up some good players (e.g., Seymore, Tooz) and others that have not done their job as we hoped (e.g., Randy Moss, Bubba Smith). Unfortunately, sometimes we cannot know how a player will perform until after we have picked him up. What is important is that the player fulfills expected purposes. Different FAs get hired with different purposes in mind. An FA could be hired for his veteran experience. An FA could be brought on suddenly due to an injury that needs to be filled, etc. Let's discuss Seymore as an excellent example of a vet hired for his experience. I will cover poor examples in another post.
According to Seymore, Al outlined the conditions of his contract when he was first signed. Al needed an experienced leader who could serve as a guide to the D-linemen. That is a good example of what Al needed to do, and I wonder if he contracted other experienced players under such a stipulation, players who failed to meet expectations. I view Seymore as an epitome of good mental health. You would think that after winning 3 rings with the Pats that Seymore would want to stay with the Pats until he retired, yet he brought no emotional baggage with him. He made a clean cut from the Pats to become a full-fledged silver-and-black Raider. He expressed that when he was contracted he was going to be a teacher and a leader and all of us have witnessed how well he earned his paycheck. Kelly has expressed his admiration for Seymore and how Seymore motivated him to become a better player and the proof is in the pudding - Kelly's improvement was astounding. Recall how Seymore lifted his helmet, smiling as he walked off the Seahawk field after the game - he's a Raider, not a Pat. All of the D-line amazingly improved and I am sure it is safe to assume that we can credit Seymore for much of the improvement.
Let's look at what happened when he hit Big Ben. Seymore said he just reacted naturally when he hit him and was not sure what he was even thinking at that moment. I interpret the reaction as Seymore, being the leader of the team, felt dejected over the Pitt touchdown and was upset over being the leader who somehow failed. He was probably trying to regroup within himself and how to put his team back on track. Note that he could not recall exactly what his thoughts were but he was NOT looking at Ben, just deeply immersed in his thoughts. Ben, on the other hand, was looking directly at Seymore, walked to him and put his hand on him. What a mistake for Ben to do that while Seymore was immersed in deep thought. Note that before Ben responded, 4 days passed before he said anything, after it was clear to him that Seymore could not defend himself since Seymore had already expressed his position. Ben then said he was calling out the conversion team - what a bunch of crap! Yeah, he was looking at Seymore and putting his hand on his shoulder while calling out the conversion team. No doubt, Seymore was wrong in hitting him, but I believe Ben got what he deserved and shows what a classless character Ben is. On the other hand, Seymore did it because he is a true raider and did not want to be messed with at that moment - Ben should have known better.
What's important to note in Seymore's example is that Al needs to specifically define what the purpose a FA is to serve and stipulate that on the contract. Players need to be signed that bring no emotional baggage with them and are able to become complete Raiders emotionally and on the field. Seymore has fulfilled his contract to the letter and would be a folly of infinite proportions should we not resign him. Al, give him his paycheck and RESIGN him! When you do, make sure it is for at least 3 years. He's at pro bowl form and worth the gamble.