Oakland Raiders: Grading Reggie McKenzie’s Offseason so Far

For 50 years, Al Davis was the Oakland Raiders—the Raiders’ mentality was his mentality. He created the aura of the “Silver and Black,” he coined the mottoes “Just Win, Baby,” and “Commitment to Excellence,” he oversaw all personnel decisions. The Raiders were Al Davis.

And because Davis didn’t believe in blowing it all up, the Raiders basically never had a full-on rebuild—offseasons weren’t for rebuilding; they were for reloading.

Even when the introduction of the salary cap and free agency made this more difficult, Davis still refused to rebuild. And for awhile, he made it work. Seen as a master manipulator of the cap, Davis seemed to always go into the offseason in salary cap trouble, but ended up keeping the players he wanted anyway.

Unfortunately, in today’s NFL, it’s becoming very hard to constantly reload. The Raiders learned that the hard way. They languished in 4-12 and 5-11 seasons for most of the last decade, as Davis’ reload attempts began to fall short. But amidst all the losing, while Davis continued to sign or trade for veterans (like Richard Seymour), the team quietly amassed young talent through the draft. It was a half-rebuild, half-reload process.

But now, with the passing of Davis, the Raiders have a general manager for the first time in their history. And he’s sending some very mixed signals about whether his current plan is a rebuild, a reload or if there’s even a plan at all.

Now in fairness, the Raiders were in real salary cap trouble when Reggie McKenzie took over; about $22 million over the 2012 cap, according to Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area. But for a team that is relatively young and was one win away from the playoffs in 2011, the focus should be on adding to the roster, not gutting it.

The bloodletting has been swift and merciless. Within the span of a few weeks, McKenzie...

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