It seems clear at this point that Dennis Allen will be back for another season. He is still under contract and would have to be fired to not be back. But his staff has a far less certain future in Oakland as many of their contracts are up and looking for extensions.
Dennis Allen is set to meet with Mark Davis in the coming days to discuss the future of his coaching staff. He had approached Davis late in the season about extending their contracts but was denied. That in itself was not a red flag as it makes sense to see the season through before discussing such things. Now a week into the Raiders' off-season, it is very much time. And from the sounds of it, Davis is balking at the idea of offering more than one-year extensions and some of them may not be too keen on that.
The idea of losing assistants on a coaching staff that has seen two straight 4-12 seasons doesn't seem like that big of a deal. After all, last season the Raiders made several firings at several positions and appear to have upgraded at most of those spots. One such upgrade was the addition of Tony Sparano.
Sparano was brought in last season as the new offensive line coach and assistant head coach and was seen as arguably the team's best hire. His work with the Raiders' offensive line this season was considered to be one of the lone bright spots on the team.
Now, the well respected and long time offensive line guru is reported as being ready to join Lovie Smith who just took the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to Mike Silver, He is being offered just a one-year deal to stay in Oakland while he would get the multi-year deal he seeks in Tampa. It just makes too much sense for him not to leave in that situation. I mean, honestly, why would he stay?
Not all the Raiders assistants are in demand like Sparano. Some of them may not even be extended the one-year offer. With the way the Raiders' defense tanked at the end of the season, no defensive coach is really safe and none more unsafe than defensive coordinator, Jason Tarver.
The Raiders defense collapsed in monumental fashion late this season and much of that is on Tarver. Early in the season, his blitzes and unpredictable defensive alignments were confusing offenses. They caught on right about midseason. The game where the wheels came off was week nine when the Eagles hung 49 points on the Raiders thanks in large part to seven touchdown passes from Nick Foles. The shroud of secrecy was officially ripped down.
The Raiders would win just one more game the rest of the season... against the worst team in football... and very nearly watched the defense give up that one too. Mark Davis' hesitancy to commit to this staff makes some sense in light of that colossal implosion.
The Raiders had the most dead money in the NFL last season and it meant they didn't have the most artfully constructed roster. But that doesn't completely excuse the coaches.
The good news is, the Raiders have a lot of money to spend this free agency to strengthen the roster. That also means there are plenty of good NFL defensive minds out there who would jump at the chance to be the guy who is credited with leading the resurgence of this unit. Then again, if Davis is only willing to shell out one-year contracts, that would eliminate the interest of most of them.
It can be hard to commit more than one season to a staff the team may not believe in but it's something Mark Davis must seriously consider in some cases. There is, of course, a wait and see approach being taken on Dennis Allen but that approach can't extend to his staff.
Davis needs to listen to his head coach and general manager in deciding who should stay and who should go. Those who stay, should be given a contract that suggests confidence in their abilities as coaches - that means a multi-year deal. Those who should go, don't bring them back even on a one-year deal. Find a more suitable replacement.
If that doesn't happen, the best coaches, like Sparano, will leave for multi-year deals elsewhere and Allen will be left with just those coaches who can do no better than to re-sign with a team who has no confidence in their abilities.
That would be a bad situation all around.