I know that Raider Nation loves a bit of drama in the off-season, and the Oakland Raiders didn’t disappoint in the NFL free agency frenzy. Offensive Tackle Rodger Saffold was pulled in off the waiver wire on March 11, only to be turned out to pasture a day later. Rumors of discontent between Oakland Raiders Owner Mark Davis and General Manager Reggie McKenzie swirled around the tight-lipped ship known as the Oakland Raiders Headquarters in Alameda, CA. The reason, Saffold didn’t pass the Raiders physical. Shortly after the news broke about his release, Saffold was quickly scooped up by the St. Louis Rams. This, of course, added fuel to the media fire that ensued after the Raiders released Saffold.
I’ll be remiss if I didn’t admit that this piece of news bothered me at first. However, I took a silent stance on it and waited to hear more of the truth that was the Saffold incident. First and foremost, Offensive Tackle Rodger Saffold injured his shoulder in the Pre-season of 2013 (Dislocation). Still, he played through the injury over the entire 2013 season. So what’s the issue? The issue is, Saffold has an underlying injury to his Labrum that was suffered in his college football days. This was the injury that may have had the Raiders putting up the road block signs.
Saffold planned to have surgery on his shoulder this season to repair the torn Labrum, and it was reported that the recovery would take an estimated 3-5 months. With OTA’s around the corner in May and June, and training camp beginning in July, the Oakland Raiders did not want to put their 42.5 million dollars up to chance. When players don’t pass a teams physical, contractual agreements that were signed in the blind can be voided. It is an everyday happening in the NFL, just not as publicized as other things unless it involves the Oakland Raiders and a big contract in free agency.
Now, the St. Louis Rams scooped Saffold right up after the Raiders dropped him, but their contract with Saffold is contingent upon his being able to play. If he cannot fulfill his contractual agreement with the Rams, they can let him go and get back guaranteed money. A move the Raiders were not willing to make. I, for one, trust in the fact that the Raiders didn’t take on a player who is plagued with injury. For all the numbers people/fans out there, Saffold has missed 17 regular season games in the last 3 years due to injury while being a member of the Rams. That’s an average of 5.8 games per season. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is.
Don’t worry Raiders fans, Reggie McKenzie does have a plan, and he is trying to execute it. He’s not going to please everybody, but I believe that he will make it work this year. It will get better Raider Nation. Trust in your Raiders. So let’s put this stupid, deplorable, ignoramus, and utterly overly examined incident to rest. Goodbye Rodger Saffold, best of luck to you in St. Louis.