Let’s just cut to the chase. When you lose your best offensive and defensive players to free agency then do little to address your needs in other areas, there is only one grade that suits the Raiders in free agency.
At the start of free agency the Raiders had to very key priorities. First and foremost Al Davis needed to show Zach Miller the money. He didn’t and Miller took a call from an old friend. Tom Cable made Miller feel wanted. The Seahawks made Miller a rich man. So now Mr. Davis is going to have to create enough cap space just to make a respectable offer to Kevin Boss.
By all accounts the Raiders failed miserably in the approach taken to retain Miller.
The next priority was to address the needs along the offensive line. Robert Gallery was given his walking papers long before the lockout began. It was a given that something had to be done to finally find an upgrade at right tackle. While Oakland used the draft to grab Stefen Wisniewski and Joe Barksdale the jury is still out on those decisions. In fact since neither has taken a snap in an NFL contest you could say the jury hasn’t even been selected yet.
With the uncertainty of rookies you’d think Oakland would go after a proven commodity. To date the most interest they’ve shown in any free agent O-lineman was the brief flirtation with Jared Gaither – a once dominant tackle that hasn’t played in a year due to a back injury. Needles to say Gaither didn’t get a clean bill of health and the Raiders reverted to giving Khalif Barnes a one-year deal for the third year running.
Overall Oakland’s free agency spending was put on ice before it began. Al’s free spending ways have finally caught up to the cap as all that dead money has prevented any major moves being made. By instead choosing to focus on re-signing players in-house the Raiders are either indicating they’ve got what they need already or that they’re just not interested in what’s available.
No matter the case this has been a very forgettable free agency period in Oakland. Now that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Quite the contrary when you consider the perfect 6-0 mark the Raiders posted in the AFC West in 2010 not to mention all the young talent just waiting to emerge. All that being said the Raiders did little to address their needs through free agency and lost their most prized players as well. No matter how you slice it that is the kind of situation that will always merit a failing grade.