It is becoming very obvious that these are no longer the Al Davis Raiders. Once Mark Davis got into his first offseason as owner he set out to give the franchise a facelift.
As if the hiring of Reggie McKenzie, firing of Hue Jackson then the hiring of a defensive mind in Dennis Allen weren’t enough of a warning, today’s surprising release of veteran cornerback Stanford Routt pretty much spells out the current mission.
With all due respect to Al Davis, his heavy-handed decisions left quite a cap mess for McKenzie to cleanup. Well, no matter how much blood must be spilt McKenzie is going to get his team into better financial shape. Routt is just the first casualty and something tells me he won’t be the last.
The Raiders raised many eyebrows by inking Routt to a $30-million deal mere days before the lockout began. While Routt was by far the best corner that ever played opposite Nnamdi Asomugha during his time in Oakland there is no way Stanford was ready to be a #1 corner in the NFL.
Further frustrating Routt’s already impossible dilemma of replacing Asomugha, the Raiders gave him absolutely no support. Throughout the season a hodgepodge of rookies and cast-off veterans were put on the island opposite Routt. Anybody who watched the silver and black this past season knows how well that went.
While Routt is a solid cover corner with very good ball skills he has always been consistently caught using his hands in coverage. During the year the Raiders were the most penalized team in NFL history and Routt led the way racking up 17 flags.
There is no question Routt can play and he’ll definitely find a new home. There’s just no way to justify his $10-million annual salary.
In order to get under the cap the Raiders had to restructure Routt’s deal before the season began. Thus a three-year contract was spread out over 5 with his total compensation valued at $54-million. Currently the Raiders are on the hook for at least $5-million of Routt’s salary for the upcoming year. Beyond that it’s not known how much of that guaranteed money he was to receive is truly guaranteed. And you wonder why the players were so adamant about not bending to the whims of the owners during the lockout?
While the move might have been necessary from a financial standpoint, it definitely leaves the Raiders in a bad spot from a personnel standpoint.
Al Davis refused to give Asomugha another payday even though he was the one who set the market price for Nnamdi’s value. Ok, that’s just business. The problem is Davis then turned around and offered mega deals to Routt, Richard Seymour and Kamerion Wimbley.
Now none of those men should feel safe following Routt’s release.
While the financial considerations by McKenzie are understandable, the amount of talent left on the roster is very minimal. Beyond Routt the only corners currently employed by Oakland are DeMarcus Van Dyke, Chimdi Chekwa and Chris Johnson. Neither of the rookies impressed much last year and Johnson is very likely to be on his way out too.
Should McKenzie’s house cleaning extend to Seymour, Wimbley or any of the other pricey vets then that too will leave Oakland very thin.
There is no arguing that Routt, Wimbley and Seymour are grossly overpaid relative to their production. However when compared to what else there is on the roster it is hard to defend releasing any of them for reasons other than financial. McKenzie is in a tight spot. Hopefully he’s got a master plan in place.
From the looks of things we could be seeing another rebuilding process underway. Let’s just hope this isn’t going to be anything like the years we’ve been through since the last Super Bowl trip.
Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Chimdi Chekwa Chris Johnson DeMarcus Van Dyke Dennis Allen Hue Jackson Kamerion Wimbley Mark Davis Nnamdi Asomugha Reggie McKenzie Richard Seymour Stanford Routt