The Raiders have not been very active in free agency this offseason. Well, unless you consider cutting players as activity. They have done some of that. They have signed a few free agents, however. But McKenzie would have liked to have done a lot more. The Raiders just haven't had the cap space to do it.
That philosophy may not go along entirely with that of the Packers from which McKenzie spent the past 18 years, but McKenzie is his own man. And according to him, the one thing keeping the Raiders from being more active in free agency is lack of money.
He was asked recently how much money the Raiders had. The thinking was that the team had about $4 million to which he responded "I wish". Although as Paul Gutierrez of CSN pointed out: by his calculations, the team has about $3.75 million to spend. Not much but it is enough to sign one decent free agent at least.
But don't get Reggie wrong, he is not saying if the Raiders had money, he would go crazy with it. He still has his limits.
"I'm trying to build a team so the more the merrier." Said McKenzie. "If I see a possible free agent that we feel like ‘man we can do this. This deal is pretty good' You know, I'm gonna do it in free agency. Regardless of what we have in the draft... I need a lot more picks than what I have now and some more free agent moves. The only thing I wish I had more of was NFL money and NFL cap. So that's what I want more of."
But even so, he has taken the whole situation in stride. Seeing working within his limited means as a challenge that he is up to.
"It's not frustrating. It really isn't. You always like to have a comfort level. And to me, having cap, having cash, it gives you a comfort. So it's teaching me how to manage money (laughs) so to speak. This is good for me. You know, learning on the fly, dealing with certain adverse situations. And I think we were, initially we're able to handle it, so far."
It has been interesting, that is for sure. Despite the yearly Chicken Little impression everyone has done for the last few years in regards to the Raiders' cap numbers, Al Davis always found a way to make it work and still sign a few big contracts. Which, as it turns out, is the reason why McKenzie is in this situation in the first place.
It is a refreshing change as well as an interesting challenge to see a new fiscal philosophy in Raider land. And thus far, the Raiders have still been able to sign a big name free agent lineman (Mike Brisiel) and at least two decent corners (Ron Bartell, Shawntae Spencer).
Now the team has three additional draft picks to choose from as well. The sky is far from falling. In fact, the Raiders horizons are looking pretty good right about now.