Reggie McKenzie has been a very busy man. He is showing why he should have been a general manager long before now, and why the Raiders are very lucky so many teams overlooked him over the years. In just a few short days the team has managed to get three major players to restructure deals to free up massive cap space. The most recent is Carson Palmer whose restructuring saved the Raiders a reported $9.34 million.
To go from $22 million over the cap to nearly none in less than a week is fantastic. Al Davis might be gone but the days of the Raiders being experts at manipulating the cap are obviously not.
I believe the Raiders are now on their way to not needing to do this song and dance every year with a more consistent signing philosophy than Al seemed to use. Reggie is making moves to keep the team under the cap not only this year but for years to come and that is something each and every Raider fan out there can appreciate.
The moment that the Raiders were in the market for a GM, this is the man I wanted and he is already showing exactly why. He is a no nonsense, behind the scenes talent evaluator that has learned plenty of tricks from the Packers on how to work using the cap instead of dealing with the consequences down the road. In order for a team to have consistent success they need to know exactly how much money they are going to spend in the future; not just from year to year. This is the beginning of reforming the stability that the Raiders had for so long that has been missing for a decade now.
The best part about the moves that McKenzie is making is who he decided to work with to get cap space. Choosing these important players in Seymour, Huff and Palmer to work with right away sends a clear message to the team; 'These are your leaders and I am working with them for the better of the team.' It shows the other players that they can trust him and that he is going to work with the team from the inside out.
There was a real possibility that any of these three players could have been cut to free the space and that would have put the entire locker room on their toes. Instead he worked around them and kept them as leaders of the team to be fielded in 2012.
I know that these three contracts were also ones that were very heavy and needed restructuring anyway just on the basis of their size. But it still is important that McKenzie chose these players to work with first and foremost. He chose these players because of the strategy of making sure everybody feels comfortable in the middle of such change happening. If these players are willing to work with the front office, it opens the door for other players to feel that they have less to fear as well. It shows that this does not have to be an all out purging of the roster.
He made a statement by releasing Stanford Routt who underperformed his big contract. That statement is that he is determined to get these contracts to where they should be by any means necessary. The second part of that same statement is 'if you do work with us we can make this happen and better the overall position of the team. We want to work with you if we can, if we cant then you can go the route of Routt.'
The ball is in the court of the remaining players to show they care more about their team than their already loaded bank accounts. If a certain overpaid OLB doesn't get on the same page the team will be moving on without him. The true leaders just gave a huge nod of support to this front office and team. Lets see who else will be following suit or be removing the Black and Silver from their wardrobe.
* Author's Personal Note: This is my 100th Fanpost on Silver and Black Pride and I have enjoyed each one whether it was well received or not! Thank you to everybody involved in running this site! Go Raiders!!