By the time Reggie McKenzie was done slicing and dicing the roster he inherited, more than half of the men that suited up for the Silver and Black in 2011 were gone by 2012. The future of the men who remained will be decided in the coming months with all signs indicating a massive overhaul is coming.
Vic Tafur of the The Chronicle details many of the potential moves that will and won’t be made by McKenzie who has been meeting with Dennis Allen recently to discuss the team’s future.
There are 17 total unrestricted free agents currently on the roster. Men like Richard Seymour and Shane Lechler have likely seen their Raider days come to an end. Others that are under contract like Tommy Kelly and Darrius Heyward-Bey could become cap casualties.
Many of these moves have been rumored for months now. The writing was on the wall when McKenzie took over. However as the regular season revealed rebuilding this team is going to take more time than expected.
McKenzie has one eye on the balance sheet and another on the product on the field. While many of his moves were made out of financial necessity the inherent danger was leaving the cupboard empty. That’s exactly what happened as the Raiders’ depth was exposed a mere one week into the season.
But that’s the cost of doing (or in McKenzie’s case undoing) business. No doubt Al Davis left the team in a real financial bind. The good news is much of the heavy lifting will be done soon enough. The bad news is there is no way of knowing what state the team will be in once all the dust settles.
Prior to the past season the Raiders were still considered potential playoff contenders. A month into the regular season and it was obvious that full rebuild was underway. How competitive this team will be next season remains to be seen. But if McKenzie is going to preach patience again then it will fall on deaf ears. Raider Nation understands the plight but there cannot be a repeat of the horrid football we witnessed in 2012.
Building to be competitive while tearing down to get in better financial shape is a real challenge for McKenzie. But that is the nature of the general manager position and like it or the coming moves must be made. Let’s just hope we’re not talking about the same process all over again a year from now.