There's another makeover that happened with the Raiders this off-season. The most major makeover the team has had since the initial changes made with the new regime.
Most of the changes that were made prior to this were personnel. The latest makeover is more of the literal variety, with the facility undergoing some major renovations. Jack Del Rio sent the message on Wednesday in his press conference at the NFL Scouting Combine to prospective free agents that these changes are a symbol of a new Raiders organization.
"I think it's important the prospective players out there understand that things have changed," said Del Rio. "Our practice fields are all being redone, our weight rooms are being expanded, we have a steam room going in. There's a freshness going on, so those are things that I talk about in the interview process that were important and they've been followed up with actual commitment of capital, which I'm excited about."
This approach is not unlike what colleges take when trying to convince high school recruits to attend their university. Bring them for a visit and impress them with their state of the art facilities.
What makes the NFL different is the matter of money (supposedly). The Raiders have a lot of it available to spend. Upwards of what could end up over $60 million. But they aren't the only teams in the world with money to spend and they aren't looking to have to pay more than other teams just to get a player to come to Oakland.
Money aside, players want to see stability and a team headed in the right direction with pieces in place. Del Rio wants those players to see the Raiders have all those things.
"As you go into the space of free agency and acquiring players, we have cap space and we have cash and we have a new staff full of teachers and we have a good young quarterback and we have a good young man off the edge in Khalil Mack and we got a good left tackle and we got corners. So, the things that we need to have started, we have. Now we're going to start adding good quality people that are fired up to be a part of the Raiders, so I'm excited about the part of the process that we're just getting into."
At the moment, Del Rio and the Raiders staff are dissecting the draft prospects, but well before the draft happens, free agency starts. They can begin hosting free agents on March 7 and will have three days until free agency opens on March 10.
These details Del Rio mentioned could be the difference between landing a prize free agent and losing him. Which in turn affects what the team does on draft day. It all ties together.
Del Rio and the Raiders are making sure they are taking care of their end of things to show free agents Oakland is a place they want to be.