It appears Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders are going to have a very busy and aggressive offseason.
The Oakland general manager told reporters at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis what most fans long to hear, as they look at the holes on the roster and the available free agents on the market:
“We need to get stronger,” he told ESPN.com’s Bill Williamson. “We’re going to go after some real players.”
The term “real players” is intriguing. Does that mean the Raiders -- with plenty of money to spend because of their available salary-cap space -- might be in the mix for such top-flight talent as defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul, tight end Julius Thomas, receivers Randall Cobb or Jeremy Maclin?
McKenzie, of course, wouldn’t say.
But it sounds as if the Raiders aren’t saying no to any option in free agency or the draft.
“We’re looking for some guys who can come in and be impact (players),” McKenzie told the media. “I got a big checklist. What I won’t do is pinpoint one position and regardless of how the draft falls, regardless, if you just target one position and I’m going to get that position. Any position we have a chance to upgrade we’re going to do it. We’re going after starter-type guys.”
After going 3-13, the Raiders certainly have many decisions to make concerning a roster that seems to need talent upgrades on the offensive line, at running back, at wide receiver, the defensive line and secondary … just about everywhere but quarterback, place-kicker and punter.
McKenzie has gotten good grades at bringing in young talent through the draft, but his track record with free agents hasn’t been so good.
Obviously, that hasn’t left him gun shy. When the free agent market opens up on March 10, he and team owner Mark Davis will be aggressive with the team checkbook.