Reggie McKenzie must feel like John Rockefeller with the amount of money he has at his disposal. Rockefeller was the richest man in American history with a net worth of approximately $340 million. While McKenzie is no billionaire, the $66 million available for him to spend dwarfs what other GM's have to offer. But that is the only aspect the Raiders reign supreme in.
Coming off a 4-12 record, the Raiders are not in a position to contend for a Super Bowl. This severely damages their chance of landing a star free agent. Generally, free agents are either looking for money, or a Super Bowl. With the Raiders out of contention for the big dance, they must give out lucrative contracts to attract potential suitors to Oakland.
Giants free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks recently made it clear he would like to play for a good Quarterback:
"I know if I went to a place like Indianapolis I would be dangerous with a quarterback like Andrew Luck," Nicks said. "I can see myself catching passes from Cam Newton or even Philip Rivers. ... I just want to make it clear that I want a long-term deal and I want to be happy."
As Peyton Manning has shown throughout his entire career, a good Quarterback can turn average Wide Receivers into stars. Receivers know the benefits of having an elite Quarterback and will be looking for one that can increase their value. But with Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor as the Raiders starting Quarterbacks, the Raiders are going to have trouble signing Wide Receivers.
Besides money, I suppose the Raiders can offer free agents the opportunity to live in California. But even that comes with strings attached. Forbes recently ranked Oakland the 3rd most dangerous city in America. Oakland ranks first nationwide in violent bank robberies. While players on the Raiders do not have to live in Oakland, they have to live close by. Many of these players have children, and the thought of them growing up near a dangerous city is not going to bode well.
In 2008, the Dallas Cowboys built the cathedral of NFL stadiums. Seating 80,000, AT&T Stadium is the 4th largest venue in the NFL. Meanwhile, Oakland Coliseum is run down and with the tarps over the upper deck, is the smallest capacity stadium in the NFL. The Raiders are also the only team in the NFL to share their stadium with another team (Oakland Athletics).
In a recent interview, Dennis Allen was asked how he planned to bring free agents to Oakland. His answer,
"Because they have an opportunity to be a part of building something special. That's the belief that we have and hopefully that's something that we can convince these free agents that are out there. We believe that we can build something special here. That's what we get up every day with the anticipation of doing. That's what brings us back to work every day. We're not ever going to stop doing that. We'll be able to find guys that we feel like can come in, fit in and be part of what we're trying to build here."
But unless that "something special" is wins, free agents will not buy it. A 4-12 record is certainly not "something special". A huge contract is. In the NFL, money can be the ultimate persuader. For the Raiders it is pretty much their only persuader. And they have lots of it to spend. The question is will they?