No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dreams that you wish will come true. When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. Anything your heart desires will come to you, if your heart is in your dream.
- Walt Disney
This had to be the Raiders motto during free agency. Wishing, and dreaming. GM Reggie McKenzie did something that was amazing to a lot of people.
He went mostly defense in his free agent bonanza. In particular, linebackers which were the strength of the Black, and Silver defense this past season.
I understand that you win on defense but you have to score points on offense to win. Surely, out of the hundreds of fee agents available there were offensive personnel that would have added to the production of the Raider offense. Maybe we will see that later in the year (wishing and dreaming again).
Looking at who was cut and who was picked up or re-signed, you would think Al Davis had arisen like Lazarath and is throwing darts at the draft choice board again.
Shane Lechler is gone. Wow, someone who flipped fields on opponents for 13 years, and gave the defense excellent field position is now kicking for the Houston Texans. He was making a big salary for a kicker, but was a positive for the Raiders in a time where positive production was far and a few light years apart. He deserved he money he got.
Phillip Wheeler, gone. The dreads will be in South Beach playing for the Fish. A young man with a lot of heart and dedication, he got better as the year progressed, looked like he was developing into a leader on the Black shirts.
Brandon Myers, gone. The leading receiver for Oakland did all that he could do to help the team, and ends up in New York. Your best pass-catcher goes coast-to-coast, gets a ton of dough, and the fans are left to suffer.
Mike Goodson, gone. Potential from here to the moon, did what he could, and was rewarded with a trade to the Jets.
The following is a list of New Raiders for the 2013 season.
Kevin Burnett OLB from Miami
Nick Roach ILB from Chicago
Kaluka Maiava LB from Cleveland
Pat Sims DT from Cinnicinati
Vance Walker DT from Atlanta
Jason Hunter DE from Denver
Phillip Adams RFA Raiders re-signed with the Raiders
Khalif Barnes UFA re-signed with the Raiders
Coye Francies UFA re-signed with the Raiders
The re-signing of Barnes is puzzling. Barnes played in nine games in 2012. 2011 was Khalif’s most productive for the Raiders as he started all 16 games. In 2010, he started in three games and in his inaugural season with the raiders he started two games. In his career he has played 87% of snaps. His foot speed has diminished drastically, and it looks like the potential with Khalif, as well as Cooper Carlisle, is a two for one trade for something, anything. Maybe a pair of P.F. flyers. Come on man!
It’s confusing that Reggie’s philosophy is getting the Raiders under the cap (great), and he is looking for players that have experience and that are looking to compete for a playing position. Myers, Lechler, Wheeler bought what Reggie was selling. The season ends –boda bing, Boda Boom — you’re taking up residence in a new town, new team, and new dream.
There are many ways to build a team, many models to copy, successful, and failures. The free agents the Raiders picked up have experience under their belt, and are looking for their five minutes of fame. I am truly in hope that they are not one hit wonders, and are here longer than one year and done. The nation should hope these men make an impact on the field, and community. I am excited to see what they bring to the table.
In round one of the Reggie experiment, it is a draw. Six new players,Terelle Pryor still on the roster, and an abundance of slots to fill. I am with breathless anticipation for the draft, the tades they will make for the future, and the present success of the Raiders in the upcoming weeks, and months.
The following is a list of who was cut, traded, or still a unrestricted free agent.
Derek Hagan UFA
Matt Shaughnessy UFA
Shane Lechler gone UFA –Houston Texans
Philip Wheeler-UFA – Miami
Desmond Bryant-UFA – Cleveland
Dave Tollefson- UFA