The Raiders have spent a boatload of money this offseason in free agency. Their roster in 2014 will be loaded with veterans such as running back Maurice Jones-Drew, wideout James Jones, defensive linemen LaMarr Woodley, Justin Tuck and Antonio Smith and cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers.
But as Paul Gutierrez of ESPN.com noted this week, Oakland still has more than $10.7 million in salary-cap space remaining – which means the Raiders aren’t done.
Gutierrez wrote that general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen are both eager to make moves “that, in their estimation, make the Raiders a better football team.”
“But again, to paraphrase McKenzie’s refrain, just becaue he has money in his pocket does not mean he’s going to spend it … on junk,” wrote Gutierrez.
Also, don’t expect Oakland – in the time between the just-completed full-squad minicamp and the start of training camp next month – to go on another spending spree.
Though there are still some potential impact free agents available – tight ends Jermichael Finley and Dustin Keller, cornerback Asante Samuel and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, for instance – many have injury or age concerns.
Plus, the Raiders would be much better off to wait.
They can take their time, see what young players on their roster step up during training camp and exhibition games and wait to see if injuries occur among their starters that would suddenly require a move.
Then, use that money in McKenzie’s pocket to make deals with other teams or free agents in late July or August. They'd also be in good position to pick up players released by other teams as roster cuts around the league are made. That would seem to be a much better use of the Raiders’ available funds than spending now.
Gutierrez noted, in fact, that when McKenzie does decide to make a move, it will give fans an indication of the weaknesses on the roster.
“With more than $10 million still at his disposal, what he decides to do with it will tell you all you need to know about how he feels about the current roster,” wrote Gutierrez.
But the best estimate is McKenzie will hold off spending that money for as long as possible to give his team maximum flexibility to plug the most-pressing holes in the Raiders roster in the weeks before Game 1.