Oakland Raiders’ Spending Dilemma Could Define Reggie McKenzie Era

The Oakland Raiders are entering the third year of their rebuild with general manager Reggie McKenzie calling the shots. The first two years have been rocky, making this a pivotal year of the entire process.

With over $60 million in salary-cap space in 2014, according to Spotrac.com, the Raiders are now in a great position. The Raiders not only have the most salary-cap space in 2014, but also the most since the salary cap came into existence 20 years ago. McKenzie effectively hit the reset button—the Raiders have neither a lot of talent nor many long-term commitments to players.

What you may not know is that it’s pivotal for more than the obvious reason, and it could come to define the McKenzie era in Oakland. Not only do the Raiders need an immediate talent infusion, but they also need to make progress to reach the NFL’s minimum spending threshold of 89 percent of the cap in cash from 2013 to 2016.

With a team lacking top-end talent, many fans expect McKenzie to go on a shopping spree, but that goes against the style he learned while working with the Green Bay Packers for nearly 20 years. McKenzie even stated in a Jan. 16 meeting with Raiders beat reporters that he wouldn’t spend frivolously.

“The philosophy is not to dump every dollar and cent into one or possibly two players,” McKenzie told reporters. “That’s not my philosophy.”

“We’re going to figure out how we can best get as many good players as we can," he said. "If that, by chance, leaves enough money or cap space to get that one player, then we’ll do that, too.”

McKenzie has to spend; he’s just going to try to do it without making a big mistake. He’s not just going to spend on left tackle Jared Veldheer and defensive end Lamarr Houston, but other free agents as well. It may not happen all this year, but the Raiders need to spend a lot of money...

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