The addition by subtraction continues as the Raiders and fledgling GM Reggie McKenzie continue to clear up cap space by eliminating contracts that had them in trouble. Had you for some reason been away or off the grid this entire offseason and missed the passing of the late Al Davis and the hiring of its first GM in nearly a decade, you might already have a pretty good idea that a new era has definitely begun in Oakland and Alameda.
For the first time in a long time the Raiders are appearing patient in the frenzy of transactions occurring across the NFL, and while nearly every other move made and contract signed for which immediate dissections begin, it's not the Raiders this time around at the top of these discussions. Thus far, only Mike Brisiel has visited Oakland, with a WILLIAMSON rumor there is interest in Ron Bartell formerly of St. Louis Rams. A lower tier CB and a pretty good G with not a lot of experience coming off a bad injury... not exactly shaking up the world. It does appear an evident pattern is bubbling to the surface.
Hit the jump to discuss possibilities the free agency period might--or might not--offer before the draft begins.
Can you say, "I'm rich!"???? Megatron can, now the proud owner of the richest contract in NFL history, which brings us to a great point. Thus far, there remains yet to be a running back off the board. Indeed, the position has little by little lost the sexiness it once possessed, being replaced instead by prolific game-changing X factor "tree" wide receivers that can catch almost anything thrown their way. And while guys like Calvin Johnson and Vincent Jackson become some of the biggest headlines of early free agency, a team's ability to answer the questions and respond the myriad problems these guys present for defenses everywhere necessitates cornerbacks that can at least help to neutralize these X-factors on offense, and hopefully have a nose for the ball and make some plays too.
Once again, it seems Al Davis was a pioneer and trail blazer in understanding this, and it appears the precedent for contracts for the league's top corners was set last year by the man who might know more about this game than any other man before him or after. Evidently, Al foresaw this change in the game coming, and we find him again leaving his mark on the game and its history.
The TEs now faster and more athletic than ever are also changing the game, and dictate that a team trying to stop them must have not only defensive backs capable of matching up with these matchup nightmares, but linebackers quick enough to run with them and strong enough to bring them down. Every year there are bigger and stronger guys turning in faster 40 times and executing drills with the look of much smaller, more athletic types that once solely dominated sub 4.5. Even 300+ pounders are pushing the high 4.7s and anymore it's not just one or two guys.
So while the Raiders bide their time and show patience, the Nation must be patient as well, and that's a tough going for a great many fans who've endured a lot of tough seasons and are already impatient in wanting to win by nature, and not just win some games or a playoff game or two, but to win the game that's the real reason for which the game is played and the trophy to go with it, but it's the way it will have to be.
With Cooper Carlisle and John Henderson the latest "cap casualties," and not much word of the guys in whom the team interested, the Nation is left wondering who and when will be the next subtracted to move this Raider team closer to what it will be come time for the season. So far, the subtractions are the most telling of how the team will next proceed.
Perhaps off-topic, but it seems notable to mention that Randy Moss' contract is for zero guaranteed dollars. At least some of the owners appear to have learned lessons from the lockout; it's clear that most did not, and agents are right back where they want to be--dictating what players will earn.