The Oakland Raiders made the decision to keep most of their coaching staff intact for the 2014 season. Though owner Mark Davis never gave specific reasons for sticking with Allen, there has been a lot of talk both from the Raiders as well as from the media and fans about the need for continuity.
But while the coaching staff will be much the same, the roster could look very different in 2014. The Raiders have 23 free agents (including exclusive rights) and of those 23 players, 18 started at least one game for the Raiders in 2013.
Normally, people do not include exclusive rights free agents when talking about turnover since the team can keep them if they want. But the question here is whether the Raiders do want to keep those guys. Over the past two seasons, the Raiders have filled their roster with below average talent because that was all they could afford. The great part about the immense cap space that is available is that the Raiders will be able to upgrade not just starting positions but also depth.
In addition to guys the Raiders may not want to bring back as they try to upgrade the roster, there will also be those who the Raiders would love to keep but will not be able to. As has been noted many times before, general manager Reggie McKenzie will not overpay players. As was seen last offseason, good players often get great contracts from desperate franchises.
No matter how desperate the Raiders are, McKenzie is not going to follow that trend, and that’s a great thing. But it does increase the likelihood that for a second year in a row, the Raiders could be returning with an almost entirely new team. So while the coaching staff may have remained mostly intact, one has to wonder how much it will matter if they are coaching mostly new faces this year.
Make no doubt about it, this offseason offers the Raiders the possibility to turn things around quickly and finally become a competitive team in the NFL again. But at the very same time, it has the possibility to be disastrous and send the Raiders into another long period of despair.