Reggie McKenzie is trying to make a gourmet meal. Problem is he’s got Ruth’s Chris taste and a McDonald’s value meal budget. McKenzie’s first offseason as a general manager was all about addition by subtraction as in he had to remove some toxic contracts in order to add to his free agency slush fund. Of course all that did was allow the Raiders to sign a few marginal players.
To be fair McKenzie hit the middle of the dartboard with his inking of Philip Wheeler. The Colts castoff blossomed in Jason Tarver’s defense as the dreaded warrior was finally given real responsibilities and he responded by playing with the passion expected of a man wearing Silver and Black on Sundays.
Of course McKenzie also saw snake eyes on his gambles of Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Both were coming off of seasons lost to injury and both shortly saw their seasons cut short in Oakland by…you guessed it…injury.
This time around the Raiders won’t nearly have the same cap constraints but McKenzie is still going to have to try and ball on a budget.
First and foremost there are more contract conundrums to be resolved. Carson Palmer, Tommy Kelly and Darrius Heyward-Bey are grossly overpaid relative to their production. Something has got to give there.
Even if/when McKenzie rids himself of more catastrophic contracts his immediate focus will shift to which player will be retained and which will be allowed to walk. Wheeler obviously tops the list. But for others such as Shane Lechler, Mike Goodson, the recently arrested Desmond Bryant and Matt Shaughnessy the future isn’t as obvious.
Once that is all resolved and the Raiders are in cap compliance, poised to explore the open market, it will once again be difficult to compete for top targets. On the wishful side are Raider reunions with Charles Woodson and possibly Nnamdi Asomugha if the current Eagle gets the Woodson treatment. Former Rams running back Steven Jackson could also be atop that wishful list.
More than likely it will be another quiet offseason as McKenzie again tries to make the best meal possible with the most minimal budget in the NFL.