The Oakland Raiders look to have taken an odd approach to start free agency this year, but Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie have a plan and they’re sticking to it. That plan may not be clear, but fans should trust what the front office has in store for the Raiders. McKenzie brought his team out of cap hell a few years back with some smart, team friendly deals and is continuing that trend this season.
Free Agency Grades: Gruden Has A Plan And Is Sticking To It
The Raiders signed veterans, Jordy Nelson and Doug Martin. These two are past their prime, but will not be asked to play the same roles they held in previous seasons. Rather, they will be asked to be compliments to Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch moving forward. Swapping out Michael Crabtree in exchange for Jordy may look like a risky move, but from all reports out of Oakland, Crabtree was a distraction both on and off the field. Jordy will be the unquestioned leader of the wide receiver room and provide the stability this group needs. Look for the Raiders to add a solid WR3 in the draft.
Help on the defensive side of the ball was a must going into the offseason. With the addition of cornerback Rashaan Melvin and linebacker Tahir Whitehead, the Raiders have plugged some glaring holes in their defense. These signings don’t mean it won’t be a defensive draft—which it more than likely will be—it merely gives the Raiders more flexibility. That flexibility will be huge for them at pick 10, as there could be a top-five player that falls and they can go with the best player available. If these holes went unfilled, however, there is a chance that they reach for a player at that pick. The draft is heavy at the defensive line, linebacker and cornerback spots, which are all team needs.
Overall, Gruden and McKenzie seem to be sticking to their plan. There is plenty of money changing hands in free agency this year. Gruden will get his “Grinders”, the rest will come through a draft that is tailor-made to address the Raiders needs.