As free agency moves along, people are spending money like there’s no tomorrow. The Chicago Bears just gave Mike Glennon a contract that will pay him $14.5 million dollars a year. The Bears are spending money like that, but the Raiders have yet to make a move. This many fans of the Oakland Raiders panicking, but they shouldn’t. They just trust Reggie McKenzie.
Trust Reggie McKenzie
First of all, just because teams can spend money, that doesn’t mean they should spend money. The three teams that have been the most active, the San Francisco 49ers, the Cleveland Browns, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, are not good teams. Meanwhile, the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, and Pittsburgh Steelers, all contenders, have been quiet.
The best teams build through the draft, and then they spend money retaining their own players. They go out and get the occasional free agent, but they don’t try to buy a Super Bowl. That worked for the Dallas Cowboys in the 90’s, but it hasn’t worked since.
Think about the players that made the biggest impact in the Super Bowl this year. Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and James White. All four players were drafted by the team they were on. Reggie McKenzie came from the Green Bay Packers, and the Packers are notorious for almost completely ignoring free agency.
As much as the Oakland Raiders need help on defense, and as much a player like Tony Jefferson or Brandon Williams could help, McKenzie and company have to think about the future. Namely, Derek Carr and Khalil Mack. The two stars are likely to be re-signed over the next two off-seasons, and neither man will be cheap.
As a franchise quarterback coming off a very good year, Carr is likely going to make insane money. There’s a good chance that he’ll become the NFL’s highest paid player. That means that at the very least, $20 million dollars will end up in Carr’s bank account every single year.
Mack was the Defensive Player of the Year last year, and judging by the contracts that pass rushers have gotten this off-season, he’s going to want a ton of money as well. Nick Perry, who has 23.5 sacks in the last five seasons, is going to make $12 million a season. Imagine what Mack, who has 6.5 more sacks in the last three years alone, will make.
As great as it would be to go out and grab blue chip free agents, McKenzie and the Raiders need to be smart. They’re going to sign a couple of free agents before all is said and done, just not necessarily all of the ones you want. Not to mention, the Oakland Raiders still have eight draft picks coming up, and McKenzie can work his magic.