Apr 26, 2013; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders first round selection D.J. Hayden and general manager Reggie McKenzie hold up a jersey at the press conference at Oakland Raiders headquarters. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders Offseason Recap (So Far)


This is the year we in Raider Nation have long awaited after two horrid seasons in which the word rebuild became an all too familiar story this season is the season the Raiders are supposed to turn our team around. So do I believe we will indeed turn things around this season? I would advise caution before buying in completely. Although, the Raiders did make a few nice moves in free agency we have lost young talent and replaced it with aging veteran players who have proven themselves in the past. The key word in my previous statement being past, despite my great respect for players like James Jones, Justin Tuck, and MJD, all of them have had issues this last season and it could be a sign of things to come. But rather than state my personal opinions and ask for you to blindly accept them allow me to break things down.

Re-signings 

Taiwan Jones: I do not think he will be playing corner as the Raiders have gotten strong at the position with the signings of Tarell Brown and Carlos Rodgers, but I do think he will continue to be a quality special teams player. Overall with Jones only making 4.355 million on this deal if he can establish himself at corner while continuing to improve as a special teams player this will then be a great signing.

Khalif Barnes: Despite Barnes having proven himself as a versatile player in that he can play tackle or guard, I do not agree with this signing even as a depth signing. Khalif Barnes has not been a quality player for the Raiders over the years so this signing was a bit puzzling to me. In addition with the plethora of players on the market I think the Raiders would have been better off signing a different player instead of Barnes.

Darren McFadden: I was very pleased with this re-signing because McFadden is still a young player at only 26 years old. In addition although I like many of you did not take kindly to the initially reported number of 4 million dollars for 1 year, when you read all the details of McFadden’s contract and realize how NFL contracts work, then it is a sound contract. Here is why it is a sound contract; McFadden is not making 4 million that is just the highest possible amount he can earn on this contract. McFadden is only guaranteed 100K on this 4 million dollar contract which then goes to say that McFadden is gambling on himself this season. If he fails then it was a small gamble by McKenzie, but if this contract does serve to drive McFadden and he earns his 4 million then the Raiders will have made quite the signing.

Usama Young: Although Young was solid last season as a safety for the Raiders; I do not think that re-signing him was the best option for the Raiders. Now allow me to explain why. Firstly Woodson whom the Raiders also brought back is 37 years old. Woodson’s age results in the Raiders needing a young safety in the waiting rather than a veteran who is 28 years old. Although Young’s contract is reasonable at 2 years and 2.34 million it was not the best option for the team.

Charles Woodson: Woodson’s contract is another great signing by McKenzie. This signing was necessary because with the losses of Veldheer and Houston the Raiders front office needed to re-sign one of our big name players. Further Woodson played with a vigor that was not reflective of his age, but served to reflect his timeless passion for the game. Because Woodson cannot play forever the Raiders must look to the future and would do well to draft a safety based on potential that can learn behind Woodson.

Pat Sims: Sims did play well last season but lacked consistency so I am hoping that this contract is incentive heavy and thus serves to drive Sims. While Sims has displayed potential I am hoping that he can take that next step and become more of an impact player.

Departures

Jared Veldheer: The fact that the Raiders were unable to re-sign one of their top free agents is disappointing and does not serve to give hope to a fan base which has endured two horrid seasons. In addition the fact that Veldheer did not buy in to McKenzie’s plan whatever that may be, and was signed for significantly less than what we offered Saffold is disheartening.

Lamarr Houston: This was another failure on part of our general manager Reggie McKenzie. By not re-signing Houston we lost a young versatile player who was just beginning to develop into a premier player. Furthermore, Houston has shown great potential not to mention that with his size the Raiders would have benefitted from keeping him as he could play either Defensive tackle or end and thrive in either position. Finally with the reasonable contract that Houston signed in Chicago I can see no reason as to why McKenzie did not re-sign him, and can accurately state that the loss of Houston is something which will haunt Oakland.

Vance Walker: Walker was a solid player with the Raiders last season but make no mistake he is by no means irreplaceable. So, the Raiders made the right call by not re-signing Walker, even if he went to a division rival he is not an impact player and can easily be replaced. Finally with Stacy McGee having flashed potential towards the end of last season perhaps McGee can become a solid contributor for the Raiders this season.

Rashad Jennings: I know Jennings stepped in and was a key offensive player for the Raiders last season, but when you look at Jennings’ career stats the realization that last season was the exception and not the rule is obvious. If you were to look up Jennings career stats over 6 seasons Jennings has gained 1,677 yds and scored 13 touchdowns rushing. But if you were to really examine Jennings’ stats then you would see Jennings scored 6 out of 13 touchdowns with the Raiders last season and rushed for a career high 733 yds last season. The Raiders will be fine without Jennings.

Tracy Porter: Porter was a great player for the Raiders and I cannot understand why he was not brought back although I do think we have gotten stronger at corner I do think we should have re-signed him as he has been very productive when paired with Dennis Allen.

Mike Jenkins: This is a player who despite his having played tolerable for the Raiders last season will not be missed. Although Jenkins was rather effective on a performance based contract the Raiders did not re-sign Jenkins with good reason and that reason would probably be the fact that Jenkins has been wildly inconsistent and displayed a lack of passion on the football field far too often. So while it was reasonable to sign Jenkins on a small prove it contract, it was not reasonable for the Raiders to re-sign Jenkins long term with what would likely include more guaranteed money.

Saffold

Rodger Saffold: Yes I am going to address this even though it was quite the mess. This was quite the mess first McKenzie lets Hulk walk, then Hulk’s replacement an injury prone offensive lineman who has struggled at both tackle and guard is signed to an enormous contract with way too much guaranteed money. Then as if that were not enough of a whirlwind affair Saffold fails his physical, which some have called buyer’s remorse. Here is why after all this time I am going to speak on this move. This move could be seen as failure on many levels not only did it serve to depict the Raiders as dysfunctional, but this move also served to cast a negative shadow over the rebuilding Raiders once again. This move was a public-relations nightmare and may have resulted in the Raiders in-ability to sign any of the many top free agents.

Signings 

Austin Howard: Howard is a solid offensive lineman and is a great combination of size and toughness. At 27 years old on a 5 year 30 million dollar contract he will prove to be a steady force on the Raiders offensive line. In the last two seasons Howard started all 32 games for the Jets this gives the Raiders a consistent lineman something which they have not had in quite some time with the exceptions of Hulk and Wisniewski. Although the Raiders offensive line will not be the same with the loss of Hulk it will improve with the addition of Howard.

Justin Tuck: Tuck is an excellent player and will contribute to the Raiders in many ways. For starters Tuck is a veteran player who has been a consistent force throughout his career, further this Tuck unlike the rule also does not like Brady. Okay so maybe that last reason was not the best possible reason, but the veteran leadership that Tuck can provide in Oakland will be invaluable. If you don’t agree you only need look at our secondary’s improvement since we brought back Woodson. Veteran players like Tuck are key to not only helping to change the culture in Oakland, but players of Tuck’s caliber are also key in the success of the young players a franchise develops. Overall this signing was an impressive coup.

Lamarr Woodley: Woodley is a big name, but he is not a big player. Woodley has declined and no longer plays with the passion he played with in his first few NFL seasons. To be frank Woodley has gotten lazy since the Steelers re-signed him, this eventually resulted in that organization releasing him this season. Now if you don’t take his rookie year into account and look at his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seasons Woodley was a dominant player racking up numerous tackles, while seemingly mastering the art of sacking the quarterback with a total of 35 sacks over that time. But when you look at Woodley in the last two seasons he has only achieved 9 sacks. While 9 sacks over two seasons might not be too bad when one considers that Woodley prior to 2012 averaged almost 10 sacks a season that is a drastic decline. So while I hope Woodley can revive his career and become the dominant defensive player he once was I am hesitant about this signing.

Tarrell Brown: Brown at 29 is nearing the end of his career but he unlike Woodley is coming off of two great seasons in San Francisco and can definitely improve the Raiders secondary. This is a sweet signing. The fact that McKenzie was able to steal Brown away from the Niners is icing on the cake. Finally with Brown only signed for one year if he is not the same player he was behind the Niners good pass rush then there is not a big loss, and if he does start to decline we are not committed to him long term.

Antonio Smith: Smith is a versatile player who I think will be able to play either defensive tackle or end for the Raiders. At 289 pounds Smith has the size to move inside, but he can also play outside as he has done for much of his career. At 32 years old I am unsure of how much football Smith has left, but on the bright side he is coming off of a good year so hopefully he continues to play at a high level.

James Jones: Jones has to be by far the Raiders best signing this offseason he has been a steadfast in Greenbay with Aaron Rodgers and will bolster the Raiders offensively. While I do think that Streater will develop into the Raiders top receiver this season. Jones will be the consistent receiver the Raiders have lacked for so long. Now Matt Schuab has been talked about as our starting quarterback but at 32 if he is truly beginning to decline, or if he goes down with injury then McGloin or possible a rookie QB will need a player to step in and become a go to guy Jones is that go to guy who will make the tough catches. Finally on a 3 year 11.3 million dollar contract he provides a big upgrade offensively without costing the Raiders an arm and a leg.

Kevin Boothe: Boothe was not the best player at the start of his career, but Boothe is coming off of 2 consistent seasons where he suited up for all 32 games and at very least can provide depth for the Raiders at guard.
Donald Penn: This is a great signing for the Raiders with Penn having earned a pro-bowl nod in 2011 he will be able to instantly improve the Raiders offensive line. Although he is nearing the end of his career he has been a consistent player in Tampa Bay and will be a consistent player for Oakland. Penn instantly improves a dreadful Raiders offensive line.

Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD provides a veteran RB who can run the ball effectively if McFadden goes down with injury this season. While MJD did not have a good season last year I think that he will provide an excellent 1-2 punch with McFadden furthermore both running backs will benefit from sharing the load.
CJ Wilson: Wilson is a depth signing with Tuck, Woodley and Smith I doubt he will contribute much.

Carlos Rodgers: Rodgers has been a great corner for the Niners and I think this player may haunt them as he will give the Raiders valuable insight on his old team. Furthermore Rodgers gives Hayden another veteran mentor to help our 1st round draft pick continue to improve. Finally Rodgers was one of the best nickel corners in the NFL last season and will shore up the Raider’s secondary.

Trades

Matt Schuab: I for one am not on board with this trade, here’s why if you watched Schuab at all last year regardless of how painful the experience might have been you would realize that his confidence as a quarterback is gone, his arm strength which was not the strongest to begin with has declined. This leads me to conclude that Schuab is done as a QB but on the bright side if this experiment fails the Raiders will have only lost a sixth round draft pick.

Terrelle Pryor: Are the Raiders the real winners in this deal? Even though Oakland gained a 7th round draft pick by trading Pryor they lost much more. Pryor although inconsistent was electrifying he served to excite a fan base that had little to believe in. Pryor served as a beautiful dream of what could be depicting flashes of brilliance against some great teams. But now he is gone and the Raiders have replaced the brilliant youth with the time tested veteran QB who shamed a fan base last season. Perhaps this move is one that the Raiders will regret if Pryor develops into a franchise quarterback like Al Davis envisioned.

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Tags: 2014 NFL Offseason All In One MJD Oakland Raiders Terrelle Pryor

  • KloverJane

    Every time I read about the mistake that was Veldeers departure, I get in a rare mood. And slightly irritated too the point that I want to drive down there and choke someone in that front office. I digress.

  • Ricky Bobby

    RM/ DA ARE INEPT

  • raidernation

    Both of u guys lack reality … The Hulk was not worth it. Even though he’s getting less money, he was asking for over 10 million or b franchise tag which would pay him over the 10 mil. The hulk is great but not elite. Any fast pass rusher can over power him.. look at the film….. 2. Houston was ok ,but SLOW and he’s the one that wanted to leave or get paid like an elite… he only had 6.5 sacks, thats it. Justin Tuck had 9 the last six games, way better. They were trying to rip off the Raiders.. that ain’t gonna happen.. mediocre…

  • Chris Schroeder

    I do agree with most of your points. However, there are several that I don’t agree with.

    1. Jarred Veldear was the best offensive lineman on the Raiders because all the other linemen were horrible. That is what made him stand out. He spent most of the season last year injured and when he returned for the final five games he was getting beat left and right and basically looked like crap. In my opinion he would probably be average on just about any other team with a good O-line. Furthermore, Reggie McKenzie made him an offer and it was a little bit lower than what the Cardinals had offered him and instead of negotiating his harebrained agent “brother” was insulted and took the first offer better which was of the Cardinals. He was also bitter like a whiny baby because they didn’t waste the franchise tag on him. This was a smart move on the behalf of McKenzie simply because of how much the franchise tag would have cost. Veldear was not worth it despite what the pundits might think.

    2. Lamarr Houston racked up 16 quarterback sacks in five years with the Oakland Raiders, Justin Tuck had 11 last year when Houston had 6. Justin Tuck has made several probowl appearances including an All-Pro and has two Super Bowl rings. Lamarr Houston has been in the league for five years and has yet to make a pro bowl. If he is such an up-and-coming at age 27 then why hasn’t he proven it over the course of his five year career.

    3. LaMarr Woodley only started declining two years ago because of an injury that lingered with him affecting his play. It was not because he was lazy due to a new contract. McKenzie has proven that he only signs high character players who have love and passion for the game of football. LaMarr Woodley fits that bill.

    4. Matt Schaub only played bad in a couple of games last year because his team was falling apart around him not because of a lack of confidence. The loss of Arian Foster and Andre Johnson were huge for type of system they were operating in Houston. This was aside from the lack of consistency on the offensive line, the back up running back and wide receiver. There was also in-house issues with the coaching staff and Gary Kubiak as well. It was a bad scenario in Houston and Matt Schaub has done nothing but prove his worth there as he has taken this nothing team to the playoffs in 2012 and they were projected to be Super Bowl winners last year before the team fell apart around him. This was a low risk high reward signing. Love this signing!!!

  • raidernation

    That’s exactly the truth… f@#! Both of them

  • bigninaross

    Totally disagree. The Raiders re-signed these guys like Taiwan, McFadden and Khalif because they’re players that love the team and want to be here. Yeah they might not be starters but they are dedicated and provide much needed depth. And as far as what we lost compared to what we gained, we have drastically improved in my opinion. Not only on D but more importantly on offense. This year is a year that I feel, The Only Nation should be super excited for! Raider Nation!

  • KloverJane

    I’m content with free agency.
    The reality is, is that they are covering up their mistakes and spinning it any way they see fit. I’m not on acid or out of touch with reality. It’s my opinion. So in conclusion, I’d rather not hear him mentioned in another interesting work of fiction or otherwise entertainers news piece.

  • raidernation

    That’s right much improved… get over it @klover. Vad n Houston they’re gone they didnt want to b a Raider..

  • Michael O’Donovan

    Clearly you didn’t watch the Houston Texans at all last year, except when they played the Raiders. You’re being subjective because you want all the Raiders moves to be good, therefore you are defending everything. Andre Johnson didn’t miss a single game. Your boy Shaub set a record for most consecutive games with pick 6’s.

  • JoeSchmoo

    Finally, someone I totally agree with, You should do the blog.

  • JoeSchmoo

    I think the Raiders would have resigned JV (not LH), but as everyone knows his brother screwed the deal. I liked JV, but he was never an elite, and was really bad last year after he came back. Penn is a great replacement and I hope the go for 1 of the 2 good OTs in the draft.

  • J5

    Not sure why everyone is so in love with Veldhere, Pryor and Houston. The reality is they aren’t that great. Terrel Pryor could be great, but can’t roll left. That’s a big deal for a QB, and he is very indecisive. I like what Reggie is doing. Bringing in guys who have winning exp. is smart, because they can instill that in the younger player, and get them fired up. You will see Haters. Go Raiders!!!!

  • Eric Kench

    I wasn’t for the Schaub trade either. I would’ve preferred the Raiders sign Josh Freeman instead. But I’m letting bygones be bygones. I’m sure Schub will bounce back if given a good WR corps. That’s why I hope the Raiders draft Sammy Watkins with the 5th pick.

  • Raider Grant

    Kudos for Chris(Mr Optimistic) being a passionate Raider fan, but I fully agree with your comment! Nothing can be wrong if everything is always right. Mr Optimistic backs anything McKenzie does & fails to recognize his mistakes. Wonder what Mr Optimistic has to say when Allen gets canned & IF McKenzie gets bounced???

  • Michael O’Donovan

    I am a passionate Raiders fan too, but, unlike a lot of Raiders fans, I refuse to wear rose colored glasses. See things for how they are, and do not hype up something that is clearly not realistic. Matt Schaub fell apart around the team more so than the team fell apart around him, which is why he was benched two different times during the season. You can’t have a team that was predicted by most to reach the Super Bowl last year and wound up picking first in the draft next week, and not put some of the blame on the starting Quarterback – you know, the leader of you team.

  • Chris Schroeder

    You can call me “Mr optimistic” if you want. Or you can call mr “Mr realist” which is more accurate. The Raiders have had a plan for the past 2 years and if you truly follow the a Raiders as I do you would understand why everything is happening the way it’s happening. They haven’t faltered from the path and they are right where they intended to be. The last 2 years were a deconstruction phase and this offseason they have laid the foundation for the future by adding proven veteran leadership to pave the way for the future. It’s not about RM or DA being fired, it never was. Their jobs were never on the line. They’ve done exactly what they were suppose to do. It wasn’t win. It was to free up the dead money and evaluate the talent over the past two years to see who would be worthy of joining the team during the rebuilding process. All BS and emotion aside from watching this team fail year in and year out. Al Davis is gone, and this process was a necessary. It’s that simple. This year they will be much better and next year they will be a playoff team. Those are the goals of the new regime. Always have been. We heard it from day one 3-5 years is what we were all told.

  • Michael O’Donovan

    How about we call you Mr. Moron. Much more precise.

  • Chris Schroeder

    That’s a real nice comment if your child looking for attention. You call yourself a Raider fan, why don’t you start acting like it and show some support for your “supposed” team? There is enough negativity from the mindless Raiders haters. True Raider fans certainly don’t need it from one of our own. Assuming that’s what you really are.

  • DanfromVegas

    Arian Foster missed a significant chunk of the season. Kubiak’s offense was laughably predictable. Everything went wrong in Houston, including Schaub’s play, but to imply that he was the cause of their demise is ludicrous. Schaub had the best overall track record from any of the available QBs this offseason. It doesn’t mean he’s going to light it up for us, but he was the best option in my opinion.

  • DanfromVegas

    I didn’t catch the part where Chris claimed that Reggie is infallible. He’s made some mistakes. All GMs hit and miss every season. I don’t think Veldheer or Houston were worth franchising, and paying them elite level money would have been stupid.