With 2013 ending on such a sour note for our Oakland Raiders, it’s time we look forward to the 2014 offseason and to what the team can do to build on whatever momentum they built this year. To get out of the AFC West basement and reach the playoffs, the Raiders need to make some New Year’s resolutions that they can actually keep.
Lose some weight:
We’ve all been trying to lose those stubborn 10-15 pounds that just won’t come off but surprisingly enough, this is one of the easier resolutions for the Raiders to keep. With over $50 million in dead cap space coming off the books for the 2014 season, the team can sign some key free agents and shore up their depth, the lack of which has been on clear display since the injuries at key positions started piling up. The dead money accounted for roughly 45% of the Raiders cap space, an astonishingly high number in a sport where rosters need to be solid all the way through the depth chart in order to compete. Shedding some pounds in the form of underperforming players is also key and will be as straightforward as not re-signing Darren McFadden ($5.8 million) and Jacoby Ford ($1.2 million).
Make smarter financial decisions and save money:
All the money being freed up needs to be spent wisely and not on players that got the team in to this mess in the first place. It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of some extra cash to spend, but as we’ve seen from teams like the Redskins, Cowboys, and Eagles, signing high-priced free agents does not guarantee success. The late Al Davis, like his good friend Jerry Jones, had a history of signing players he considered “his guys” to big money contracts even if they were past their prime or simply not good enough. Guys like Richard Seymour making $13 million in 2013 is absurd considering the fact that he couldn’t even land a roster spot on any other team this year. Making smart decisions and letting players go when they become ineffective can and will save the Raiders from another salary cap hell a few years down the road.
Hit the dating scene but don’t give your heart to just anybody:
Drafting a player is a lot like dating. You can fall in love at first sight and focus on all the positives like 40 times, bench reps, and bench reps but be so infatuated that you overlook all the possible negatives such as character issues, lack of fundamentals, poor work ethic, and more. The Raiders have missed on far too many draft picks in recent years and that needs to change. Some didn’t have the talent to contribute and some just didn’t have the character to make it in the NFL. The draft is the best and cheapest way to add impact players and depth and with the rookie wage scale implemented in 2011, having a top five pick is no longer as financially crippling as it once was.
The Raiders seem to be heading in the right direction by maintaining some consistency at head coach, something sorely lacking over the past decade and now that the team’s “destruction” phase is over we can all enjoy the “reconstruction” of the greatness of the Raiders.
Do you have any resolutions you want the Raiders to make? Let us know in the comments section!