It’s been a wild first few days to free agency. Alshon Jeffrey signed a big prove-it deal with the Eagles and Calais Campbell got a huge payday with the Jaguars. To top it all, there was the trade that sent Brock Osweiler and a second round pick to the Browns, however briefly he may actually be there. One thing is notable however, and that’s the Raiders have been completely silent. So, how worried should we be?
Should Raider Fans Be Worried With the Lack of Free Agency Action?
The Raiders are taking the demonstrable right approach to free agency. McKenzie is building a team for now and for the future, and he’s doing it the right way. Here are three examples of teams that aren’t doing the right thing.
Over-paying for the elderly, like The Jets.
In fairness, this one is a class Raiders-of-old move. For most of the early 21st century, you could find over-the-hill veterans getting a final payday with the Silver and Black. Now, it’s teams like the Jets who are doing it.
It was a sentimental move to bring back Darrelle Revis, sure. But he’s not lived up to the contract he got, and last year he was truly terrible. And now he’s going to make $6 million even if he doesn’t play. The Jet’s owe him that from his contract, and they still chose to cut him. That gives you some idea of how bad his play was last year.
These types of deals are fine, but paying over the odds for an ageing player is usually the sign of a desperate team. And it rarely works out well.
Getting desperate for a key player, like The Texans.
Brock Osweiler played so poorly last year that most people are lauding the Texans for finding a way out of their mistake. It’s crazy to think that giving up a second round pick to get rid of that contract is a smart move. The general consensus appears that it is. But people should ask one more question: who’s going to play quarterback for the Houston Texans now?
The answer is pretty easy – the Texans are clearly making a strong run for Tony Romo, widely considered to be the best quarterback available this year. But you can be the best available without being any good. Yes, maybe Romo is the best quarterback to hit free agency since Peyton Manning, but it doesn’t mean he is Peyton Manning.
Look at it this way – the Texans gave up a player and a second round pick to attempt to sign a 36 year old quarterback who has played just five games in the last two years and has won just two playoff games in six starts. Romo might be good, but he’s not great. Certainly not Manning great. And that’s the big problem – the Texans are desperate for a quarterback.
Any time you get desperate, you start making bad decisions. How many times has the star player who was signed as ‘the missing piece’ actually ever worked out that way? Save your money and save your draft picks.
Winning free agency each year, like The Jaguars.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have signed two of the top five from NFL.com’s free agency list. They’re spending around $100 million on Campbell and Bouye. On paper, their defense now looks awesome.
But, remember last year when they signed Malik Jackson and Tashaun Gipson? They finished 3-13 last year. Remember in 2015 when signed seven players including Julius Thomas? They finished 5-11 that year.
Getting the marquee names is fine, but it’s the same deal as with Tony Romo. Just because these players are the best players available doesn’t mean they’re great players. Thomas played 21 games over two years for the Jags before being released. He didn’t make more than 500 yards receiving in any season for them. But here’s the rub – he only ever did that once for Denver. There is always a reason why these players hit free agency.
The final thing to consider for Jacksonville is what this means for Blake Bortles. As Bortles was a first round pick, he has a fifth year option on his rookie contract the Jaguars could take. But he’s still got only two years until his next deal is due. Same as Khalil Mack. Whilst McKensie is carefully counting his pennies to make sure he’s got the cap room to give deals to both Mack and Carr, the Jaguars are spending money on free agents like it’s going out of fashion.
Either the front office really doesn’t rate Bortles, or there’s every chance they’re completely mismanaging the situation. If Bortles can’t rediscover his early promise, then it doesn’t matter what the Jags do elsewhere in free agency, because Bortles will safely lose them ten games again. If he can rediscover that form, then they’ve got no means of signing him to the type of deal he’ll deserve. Either way, they lose.
So, the Raiders can carry on being quiet in free agency. Losing players is a shame, but if they get crazy offers elsewhere, then what is Reggie to do? And the compensatory draft picks help make up for their loss. Staying quiet, making a couple of low-key signings and concentrating on the draft is the clear path to success.