Ever since Nnamdi left, I’ve heard nothing but doom and gloom.
“Oh, we haven’t signed Zach Miller.”
“We overpaid for Routt.”
“Why the fuck hasn’t Wimbley got a long term deal yet.”
“Oh, we missed out on Gaither.”
To which I say – youse all need to calm down a bit.
Let me cover everything I’ve seen relating to us in FA, point by point.
Nnamdi Left For the Eagles.
OK, here’s the deal.
I think Nnam was as good as gone the moment his deal was voided. I’m sure he spoke to Al and told him as much. And honestly? I don’t blame him. He’s 30 years old and doesn’t have a long term deal after this one. Cornerbacks tend to decline after hitting 30. He has never played even a playoff game in his career. He’s made plenty of money, but he wants to win a Super Bowl title, and do you blame him for that?
I neither hate the loss of Nnamdi, nor do I mourn it. I choose instead to remember all that he has done for the Nation during some of our darkest days and celebrate his career with us, and wish him luck in Philly. (Except on the occasions we play them, of course).
Nnamdi leaving directly ties into my next point…
Stanford Routt’s Extension.
I don’t think there’s another current Raider who quite divides us like Routt. Some (like myself) think he has star potential, others think he’s barely starting CB level. No one can doubt that he came a long way last year – while he still showed he’s prone to some stupid mistakes, he also showed that he can cover #1 receivers and cover them well. To which he was rewarded nicely by Al.
I know a lot of people think $10 million was too much for him. But look at this year’s CB market. Demand seriously outweighs supply. Had we let him go into FA, we’d have had all the teams chasing Nnamdi after him along with a few who may have thought Nnam’s price was too high (Detroit, Baltimore both come to mind here) and he would have gotten a contract similar to the one he received from us.
It’s the market. As the NFL becomes more of a pass-first league, good youngish cornerbacks who can cover and tackle (both of which Routt can do) are becoming more and more in demand.
Let’s also remember that Stanford was targeted a lot because he had Nnamdi on the other side of the field. With CJ/W-Mac/Ware/DVD/Chek opposite him, he’ll be thrown at a lot less and look better for it.
Zach Miller’s Extension To Be.
I’ve heard plenty of “why didn’t we franchise tag Zach Miller?” I’m assuming that everyone’s forgotten that Al placed a tender on him before the lockout that would have made him a RFA, only for that to be voided in the new CBA. Al probably made a mistake in not predicting that could be a possibility, but I’m sure he wasn’t the only one to do so.
Fact of the matter is, as soon as Al clears the money Zach will get a long term deal with us. He’s not going anywhere for the simple reason that tight ends generally do not command major FA money, especially old-fashioned hybrid ones like Miller. The teams who have money to throw are fairly set at the position anyway (Baltimore and Miami are the only exceptions, and I don’t see them splashing out that much on him).
One thing that will clear money for Zach is…
Kam Wimbley’s Long Term Deal To Be.
Again, Al’s use of the franchise tag coming into question – just before the lockout, he thought he had Zach safely wrapped up with the tender. Wimbley, on the other hand, had his long term deal voided by some obscure clause. So Al tagged him instead.
Now they’re working on a long term deal. These things don’t happen in 15 minutes. The fact that Kam signed one before the lockout shows he wants to be here, which is a good starting point. I expect to see him locked up before Monday.
Not Adding Gaither.
Jared Gaither was supposed to be our big free agent signing, a 6’9”, 350 man mountain offensive tackle who was supposed to bookend our bully O-line with Veldheer for years to come. I got excited when I heard he had all but signed – so did we all. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be.
However, the reason it didn’t happen was pretty simple – he didn’t pass a goddamn physical. Our medical staff are pretty good. If they think his back issues will impede on his ability to be the OT we need, I’m gonna trust them.
Honestly, I’m not surprised. Guys his size with his build tend to have dodgy backs. (Knock on wood that Veldheer doesn’t develop similar problems).
We Haven’t Been Active In Free Agency Otherwise.
Yeah, I thought so also.
Clearly the big man has learnt from his mistakes and isn’t going to overpay anyone this year just to make a splash. For that reason, I don’t see Cromartie on the Raiders next year even though I wouldn’t mind him.
We’re not going all in because I think Al realizes that we aren’t just a couple of guys away from the Super Bowl. We’re a year or two away at least, and we still need to make the playoffs first.
If you go all-in to free agency every year, you get the Washington Redskins. I think I prefer Al’s patient approach for this off-season.
Rant over. Maybe it’s my hangover talking (it’s my birthday next weekend so I’ll probably get pissed again then, but after that I’m drying out till summer) but I do think that everyone who’s up in arms about our off-season so far needs to take a deep breath, step back and survey the offseason landscape with a more dispassionate eye.
And hey. Worst comes to worst we get a 3rd round compo pick next year.