**Warning: Spoilers** May contain some plot spoilers.
The offseason is in full swing as the Scouting Combine is upon us. No sooner will the Combine end then we will be talking Free Agency (FA) and then on to what we’re all looking forward to: the 2014 Draft.
For the Raiders, a lot may be answered in FA, as the Raiders front office has money to spend. As FA unfolds it will help narrow our focus on the Draft. Reggie McKenzie and company will likely be busy in FA and depending on what they target, they may use the Draft to fill in holes or as a supplement to FA, applying a BPA strategy that Reggie claims to prefer. In either event, regardless of the approach the Raiders use to fill out and upgrade the roster, you can be sure that the game of subterfuge and misdirection will be in full effect as the organization tries to get the upper hand in negotiations with their own free agents (Jared Veldheer, Lamaar Houston, et al.) other team’s free agents, and teams seeking potential trade partners in the Draft.
The Raiders and RM would be wise to take a page out of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series when navigating the next three months leading up to the Draft. Let’s explore how some characters portrayed in the series could help RM and company have a successful offseason:
When dealing with their own free agents: Ask Cersei Lannister how to deal with "family". The Queen in Kings Landing has a unique way of dealing with family and it’s not always pleasant. In fact, just because you’re family does not mean you won’t end up underneath, on top of, or inside of Cersei. You could also end up green lit with a contract out on you. Cersei also has a knack for biding her time. She might suggest the Raiders make a move only when the timing is optimal and their free agents are at their most vulnerable (or at least when they know what else is available on the market and what the market price might be). And you thought I was suggesting the Raiders f*** their free agents, like Cersei certainly would.
When dealing with other team’s free agents: Ask Tyrion Lannister for guidance. No one is better at cajoling and winning over his adversaries like Tyrion. The Raiders are faced with trying to persuade free agents that Oakland is a desirable destination, a team and organization worth playing for. As Tyrion would often trumpet, "Lannisters always pay their debts." Well, the Raiders certainly can pay their debts and their contracts, to the tune of $60 million, something Tyrion would tell the Raiders they would be wise to let all desirable free agents know.
When dealing with teams looking to trade up in the Draft: Check in with Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish. Is there a sneakier, back stabbing bastard than this character? Well, if the Raiders hope to trade out of their fifth spot in the Draft to accumulate more picks and get good value, they need to adopt some serious subterfuge and misdirection that would make even "Littlefinger" proud. And you thought Cersei would f*** you over good. She can go to the back of the line. Littlefinger would tell the Raiders to make every prospect sound like he’s their dream candidate and could not live without them. Have other teams think the Raiders had their best interests in mind, and then proceed to rape them for every pick they could get while not believing for a second that any of the remaining players are worth a top 5 pick.
These are just some of the ways the Raiders can get ahead going in to the Draft.
Here’s to looking forward to the new season of GoT and the 2014 Draft!