Before free agency began, Mark Davis made it clear that rebuilding was over and that $66 million is cap space, there could be no more excuses. He also stated that Dennis Allen could not make any excuses because every coach he wanted, he got back.
"Every off-season is the most important at that time, but this is one that we've been building toward the last few years," Davis said. "So, yeah, there is no question. We have to hit it right now. The coaches, they're all signed. Dennis Allen has every coach that he wanted."
Davis wanted to find an "identity" in the draft or free agency.
"We have to find somebody in the draft or in free agency that is going to be the identity of the Raiders," Davis explained. "I don't know if we really have an identity now."
Saffold was signed to a five-year, $42.5 million contract Tuesday. But the only reason Saffold was signed in the first place was because Jared Veldheer was leaving to sign a five-year $37.5 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. This is after Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen stated plainly that Veldheer was a top priority. McKenzie was asked in January if he felt good about the chances of resigning Veldheer, his answer: "yes."
But according to Jared Veldheer's mom, the Raiders never gave a fair offer.
@raiders343 A fair offer from the Raiders never happened. Nothing near the Saffold deal. We will always ❤️ Raider Nation.— mary veldheer (@mommagolfer) March 11, 2014
She also went on to say how the offer was nothing close to the Safford deal.
@MichaelZipser sorry mike. We will miss Oakland. I don't think RM really wanted him back. The offer was nowhere near the Saffold deal.— mary veldheer (@mommagolfer) March 11, 2014
In that case, either Reggie McKenzie did not want Veldheer back, or he thinks that Saffold is a much better tackle (many fans beg to differ). Regardless, he did not follow through with what he told Raider Nation.
"He's certainly one of the guys we would like to have back. Anytime you have a young player that has the potential to continue to get better, and there were some things he was able to do this year ... he's really a multi-dimensional player. He plays the run really well and he also has the ability to affect the passer, although he hasn't had huge sack numbers throughout his career, he has been up there as far as pressuring the quarterback and being able to get hits on the quarterback. He's certainly one of the guys that we want to try and get back."
Despite this, Houston signed a five-year, $35 million contract with the Chicago Bears on Tuesday.
Rashad Jennings another free agent that many agreed should be resigned. Reggie McKenzie apparently agreed. When asked if he wanted Jennings resigned, McKenzie said "yes." For the third time in one day, McKenzie backed out of his word.
Jennings tweeted Wednesday that he was signing with the New York Giants:
According to Fallon Smith of CSN Bay Area, the deal was $6.9 million over 3 years.
Jennings then said after signing with the Giants "I'm with the team that wanted me."
The one player that seemed destined to hit free agency was Darren McFadden. When asked about McFadden, Mckenzie gave the impression that he would not be resigned:
"Darren's going to be a free agent and there's been communication with his agent, [who's] going to see what his market is. And that's the thing, when you're talking about the games that he's missed. He has no idea ... what his market value will be and I couldn't tell you what the other 31 teams think, and his agent is leaning toward trying to figure out what that its. So, we'll see."
According to the statements made by both Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen, all indications were that Jared Veldheer, Lamarr Houston and Rashad Jennings would be re-signed. It also appeared that Darren McFadden would leave Oakland for a fresh start. Ironically, the opposite happened as McFadden was the only player of the four to be retained
In his January Press Conference, McKenzie highlighted the fact that the Raiders were either going to re-sign players, or upgrade:
"Hopefully there will be a few of the guys coming back and whether it's that same role or whatever, at least we'll have some guys to choose from if we can get ‘em back. If not, we're going to upgrade," McKenzie said. "...continuity helps, but great players and really good players will help more."
Through one day of free agency, the Raiders certainly did not resign or upgrade; in fact, they got worse. If Mark Davis thinks rebuilding is over, Reggie McKenzie has not received the memo.