Reggie McKenzie knew what he was getting into when he took the helm of the Oakland ship. Aside from the necessity to reorganize the franchise from top to bottom he had to cleanse the salary cap by shedding some “out of whack” contracts.
Stanford Routt, Kamerion Wimbley, Kevin Boss and even Hiram Eugene were all victims of the benevolent dealings done by Al Davis. So too were Michael Bush and Jason Campbell among others who were either shown the exit or just weren’t welcomed back.
Despite all the salary shaving, the silver and black are still just barely avoiding the red. McKenzie’s first foray into free agency was more like a collegiate shopping spree at the local Vons. There was plenty in the cart at checkout but most of the items that made their way to the checker were of the Top Ramen variety.
Even with the cost conscious approach McKenzie’s franchise is another year away from being in a better place financially. That’s why there are still two unsigned draft picks despite the fact that Oakland wasn’t on the clock until the end of the third round. It’s also why there has yet to be any movement on the Cedric Benson front.
There has been some rumoring that the Raiders were considering bringing in Benson for the upcoming camp in hopes of finding a productive vet to backup Darren McFadden. While the inactivity in the pursuit of Benson could be more closely related to other issues the financial constraints can’t be ignored.
That top pick Tony Bergstrom, the man whose name wasn’t called until the 95th pick, is still unsigned says it all. Juron Criner, the 168th choice in 2012 and a standout in OTAs, is also waiting to put his name on a pro contract.
Now the Raiders aren’t flat broke. They’ll get their remaining unsigned rookies inked before camp commences. However they’re not exactly in a position to sign Bergstrom, Criner and Benson with enough cash leftover to address other needs that will surely arise as the season nears.
So for the time being it’s more Ramen dinners followed by coupon cutting with a big glass of water for dessert. Until McKenzie can rid his team of more costly contracts its more of the frugal approach.