Reggie McKenzie has taken some well-deserved heat this free agency period. The debacle that was the Rodger Saffold signing made the fans seriously question what was going on, as well as who was actually running the show. The Austin Howard signing was a good signing to help bolster the offensive line. The acquisitions of Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley made it obvious to me that the line of scrimmage was a priority for Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders.
Some believe that bringing in Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley were great moves for the team. Some believe it was the Raiders front office trying to throw the Raider Nation a bone so they would stop taking a beating publicly. I fall somewhere in the middle. While I think bringing in veterans with Super Bowl rings can help the locker room, I also realize both players might be past their prime. I believe Justin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley have the ability to really help this team both on and off the field but I don’t expect them to be the saviors of the franchise. They are good veterans who I expect to help a young team grow over the next two years.
I do commend Reggie McKenzie for sticking to his guns even after taking tons of scrutiny. He is trying to build this team through the draft and use free agency as a way to complement the roster instead of paying top dollar for mediocre players. I will not say McKenzie has done an excellent job but I will say he has a plan, which is something this franchise has needed for over a decade.
I think the Oakland Raiders front office should be more aggressive with a few of the remaining free agents. Henry Melton is a player I think the Oakland Raiders should be making a serious attempt at signing. Melton is coming off an ACL tear last season but I believe he is still has a lot in the tank. He is only twenty-seven and pairing him with Jutin Tuck and Lamarr Woodley could potentially make the Raiders front seven pretty good. Henry Melton is a physical player in the middle of the defense, something the Raiders might miss after losing Pat Sims and Vance Walker to free agency.
Another player I would like to see the Raiders bring in for a visit is Antonio Cromartie. With Walter Thurmond going to the New York Giants, Cromartie is a player the Raiders should be trying to get in the silver and black. The Raiders are desperate for corners so I see no reason why he should not be on the radar of Reggie McKenzie. He fits the defensive system as a corner that can hold his own running man coverage as well as cover a zone effectively. Seeing that the Oakland Raiders have to play the Denver Broncos twice a year I don’t mind bringing in Cromartie for a year or two at around four to five million. Walter Thurmond got a one-year deal for $3.5 million so giving Cromartie slightly more to play in Oakland is fine with me. My only fear is overpaying for Antonio Cromartie simply because it’s the Raiders.
I don’t think Reggie McKenzie has done horribly as some people would imply but I would like to see him be slightly more aggressive. I know he comes from Green Bay where they do not really participate in free agency but this is not Green Bay, its Oakland. I want him to keep his own philosophy but sometimes you have to switch to up a little and take a risk or two.
Right now, I’d give Reggie McKenzie a grade of a C. The Rodger Saffold situation was embarrassing to him as well as the Oakland Raiders organization. If it was not for that, McKenzie might be in the C+, B- range. I want to see Reggie be more aggressive but I’m glad he isn’t making erratic decisions in desperate attempts to save his job.