Free agency is a week and a half in and the free agents for each team has seen the first and second wave pass. This is where we get a good idea of whose free agents are thought to be the most valuable across the league. And standing along atop that list is the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders have lost 10 free agents this period-more than any other team in the NFL. Sure, part of this is due to their being cap strapped. But even so, that wouldn't necessarily account for the high demand that the Raiders free agents have been in.
The Raiders have had a total of 31 free agents this offseason. Only ten of those players are unrestricted and are still free agents.
Here is the overall list of free agents signed away from the Raiders so far:
QB Jason Campbell Chicago Bears
RB Michael Bush Chicago Bears
TE Kevin Boss Kansas City Chiefs
Only two other teams in the NFL even come close to the number of free agents lost and those teams are the Broncos and Colts who have lost nine players each in free agency. The Colts have begun an overhaul with Peyton Manning's release and the Broncos have begun a rebuild preparing for Peyton Manning's arrival. This is, of course, prior to the expected mass migration of former Colts following Manning to the Broncos.
The Raiders knew it would be difficult to hold onto all their free agents this offseason and cutting three high-profile and therefore high-paid players like Wimbley, Routt, and Boss was not easy to swallow. But it speaks loudly of the respect the rest of the league has for the quality of talent the Raiders had last season that they would make the Raiders' free agents such a high priority.
Here are the remaining Raiders free agents still unsigned:
WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh UFA
OT Stephon Heyer UFA
DL Jarvis Moss UFA
LB Darryl Blackstock UFA
LB Ricky Brown UFA
LB Quentin Groves UFA
CB Lito Sheppard UFA
SS Jerome Boyd ERFA (not tendered)
FS Matt Giordano UFA
QB Kyle Boller UFA
CB Chris Johnson UFA (Cut)
FS Hiram Eugene UFA (Cut, failed physical)
DL John Henderson UFA (Cut, failed physical)
As far as incoming free agents, the Raiders have signed five CB Brandon Underwood, CB Pat Lee, CB Shawntae Spencer, CB Ron Bartell, CB...err... I mean OG Mike Brisiel. And if you are wondering about compensatory draft picks in 2013, the tally is currently at plus four for the Raiders.
It can be frustrating watching good players leave as free agents. But it shows the league respects the building blocks the Raiders had. Even if by taking them, they are kind of saying they didn't have much respect for how the team was constructed.