The rumor mill was not churning before the Oakland Raiders eventually landed center Rodney Hudson and left guard Kelechi Osemele. Could there be silence before the storm like in years past?
For many fans, general manager Reggie McKenzie stubbed his toe with the team’s newest addition — journeyman wide receiver and special teamer Griff Whalen — on Monday. The 28-year-old Stanford product, more of a depth piece, was not the splashy acquisition a ravenous fanbase is seeking under the reign of new head coach Jon Gruden.
Pull back on the reins there a little bit. First, Whalen is not a big-money get, or guaranteed a roster spot. Secondly, free agency does not officially kick off until Wednesday, despite the tampering period starting on Monday.
The rumor mill will continue to churn out the “X team is interested in Y”, that’s a given. Nevertheless, so is the Raiders’ clandestine way of bringing in free agents. The players that intrigue McKenzie arrive without much fanfare. Plus, only time breaking news happens seems after an agreement.
In addition to adding Whalen and re-upping defensive tackle Justin Ellis last week, cornerback Sean Smith and right tackle Marshall Newhouse were waxed from the roster. The subtractions cleared up some monies for any addition(s) McKenzie seeks.
Yet, if the Raiders stand pat the initial wave of free agency, there will be increased panic. That uneasiness is unsettling. However, a calculated approach is necessary in free agency. Considerable considerations must occur before spending any coin. Get the greatest bang the Raiders can get.
Oakland’s roster has several missing components. Some, but not all require attention during free agency. The gaping rift at the cornerback spot, for example. That sucker would make the Grand Canyon blush. Other than promising second-year man Gareon Conley, the depth at CB is atrocious. A big-ticket free agent at the position or another high draft pick is en route.
However, before that, McKenzie’s decision on in-house free agents must occur. It already happened with Ellis. Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio and linebacker/defensive end Shilique Calhoun accepted tendered offers as exclusive rights free agents. That leaves veteran middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman and defensive end/tackle Denico Autry. Move back in or move on.
Resources appear limited. McKenzie knows this. He has a mega-deal in the works with defensive end Khalil Mack, the heart and soul of the Raider defense.
Surely, the Raiders will adopt their head coach’s fiery and intense nature. However, Oakland cannot be as pugnacious in free agency.
Calm, cool, and collected.
Leave the F-bombs and scowls for gameday.