It was Friday the 13th, alright. And it started with the fallout of the bombshell from Thursday night that the Raiders supposedly had interest, nay were "in negotiations" with Greg Hardy's camp. A report that Friday morning the Raiders made sure they nipped that possible PR disaster in the bud.
Not long after "sources" simultaneously notified several members of the media that the Raiders were not interested in Hardy, Mark Davis spoke with Tim Kawakami - as he does with great regularity these days - to send the point home, calling the report "False, falser, and falsest".
Okeedokee, so I'm gonna go out on a limb and surmise that the Raiders won't be adding Greg Hardy. Aaaanywho...
No sooner was that reported flirtation dealt with, the actual flirtation of attempting to sign Jermaine Gresham had an update. That being the contract negotiations were dead for now. Which means the two sides gave their offers and Gresham's camp is going to try and find a better deal elsewhere. If he can't and gets desperate, maybe a deal can be struck at a later time. But as it stands now, the Raiders have only added blocking tight end Lee Smith to the mix.
The next ‘surprise!" moment was that of Christian Ponder signing with the team. He came for more than a visit as before he had even arrived, the two sides had agreed to terms and he was officially signed shortly thereafter. His arrival looks to signal the departure of Matt Schaub.
They also officially announced the signing of reserve cornerback, James Dockery. Oh, and they signed punter Steven Clark aka ‘camp leg'.
This is where the Raiders are in their free agency transition. Four days in and we've moved to backup QB's, reserve corners, and camp legs. And of course reports of inquiries into a player who could be looking at a lengthy suspension for domestic violence and contract talks breaking down with a tight end who they've had reported interest for the past week.
Does this mean that no further ‘impact' signings are on the horizon? Certainly not. But the priorities seem a bit out of sorts. There are still decent players out there who are going to other teams while all this is happening. And the Raiders still have somewhere around $20 million available to them under the cap and several positions yet to be filled. That figure will rise $5.5 million with the inevitable release or trade of Schaub.
Also, there are several teams engaging in trades involving quality players. Many of those trades are being made by teams in need of shedding salaries to get under the cap. The Raiders should be a great beneficiary of such desperation. It hasn't happened that way because many of these trades require draft picks in return and Reggie McKenzie is not one to give up draft picks in trades - even late round picks, which is what most of these trades are.
Though, who knows, the Vikings just acquired Mike Wallace in a trade, so maybe they could look to get rid of Greg Jennings who had some great seasons in Green Bay with McKenzie there. Maybe Reggie's love of his former players will outweigh his love of keeping his draft picks should that opportunity present itself?
So many possible scenarios. Last year the acquisitions continued well past four days in. At 5 days James Jones and Kevin Boothe were signed, a week later Donald Penn had been cut and was signed. It was after that when moves fell off with the trade for Matt Schaub, and signings of Maurice Jones-Drew, C.J. Wilson, and Carlos Rogers.
Basically what I'm saying is I'm waiting until a week has passed before giving an overall opinion/grade of this year's free agency. As for a progress report, the Raiders still have much work to do.