The Oakland Raiders held their annual Commitment to Excellence Award Dinner on Saturday night and the award winner, fullback Marcel Reece shared his thoughts on how the Raiders should handle the offseason. When asked if he had any advice for Raiders general manager when it comes to NFL free agency, Reece said:
I want him to be fearless, I don’t want him to worry about anyone else. Let’s go for it right now. That’s what I’m looking forward to. No safe moves. I don’t want those. I want smart, calculated, fearless, Raider-ass moves. We want guys committed to winning. That’s what we want to do. We want to win right now.
It would appear that Reece has the same concerns that many Raiders fans have. McKenzie has said over and over that he will not overspend, even with the immense amount of cap space the Raiders have. Some have interpreted this to mean that the Raiders will not make ANY big moves in free agency. Rather, they expect McKenzie to continue the bargain-basement-shopping style he used in the first two years with the team.
But there is a lot of problem with that logic. First, this year is much different than the two previous because of the cap situation. The Raiders literally had no choice but to bargain shop. That is not true here. The second issue is that the Raiders, along with every other team in the NFL, are now subject to a minimum spending requirement.
Finally, and most importantly, McKenzie may not have another offseason to save his job. Owner Mark Davis has said that while he understood the need to repair the cap situation, he also feels like the Raiders have failed to build any sort of identity over those two seasons. If McKenzie cannot put together a team capable of showing serious improvement, there is a good chance he gets canned before the next offseason.
With as many holes as the Raiders roster has on it, McKenzie will not be able to address them all through the draft. He will have to sign a number of starters in free agency. Only going for cheap leftovers as he has done the past few years is an excellent way to ensure another poor season.
McKenzie may not do an impression of the Dolphins in 2013, but to think he will not make any significant signings is foolish. The only question that remains is whether or not the signings will be significant enough to qualify as “Raider-ass” signings.