I’ve consistently heard questions since the end of the NFL’s season – “when will the Raiders going to start resigning their players?” “Why haven’t the Raiders cut anyone yet?” Why isn’t Reggie McKenzie doing anything to restructure some guys?”
The answer I’ve offered each time was patience – McKenzie didn’t need to do anything yet because there wasn’t any deadline to do anything. McKenzie, like his mentors in Green Bay, is very deliberative.
Looking back at Green Bay’s transactions, they historically do not cut or restructure their players until the week before free agency.
There are several reasons to do this – one is that it allows the GM his staff to make full evaluations and a plan of what they would like to do. They can go through tape, look at contracts recently signed and make sure they have a solid range on what they feel each potential cut, resign or restructure is worth.
This is important because, as any good negotiator knows, it can get heated during the negotiation. If you come in without your strengths considered, your range set and an idea of how you want to present your side you can get caught up and pay too much for someone in the heat of the moment.
We’d all like Reggie McKenzie to resign last year’s stand out linebacker Phillip Wheeler, for example, but what if he’s looking for too much? At some point, the team will have to walk away from negotiations. Walking away is one of the most effective, powerful but underemployed tools in negotiation.
Also, waiting allows the GM and his staff to gather some additional information from less patient teams. What players have already been cut? What are their agents looking for those players? Are there rumors of further cuts to come? Are there certain positions that look to be represented better or worse than normal in free agency?
As a wise man once said, “information is power.” This is very true in football where a patient GM can gather a lot of information while being patient.
The time has arrived, however, for the Raiders to take action. Free agency is just over a week away (March 12th to be exact) and teams can start talking (officially) to agents of free agents as of March 9th.
Expect the work that Reggie McKenzie has put in over the last month to start bearing fruits this week. He has certainly been in contact with David Dunn, the agent of Carson Palmer, discussing a pay cut for the likely 2013 starting QB.
Likewise he’s almost certainly been in contact with the agents for Wheeler, running back Mike Goodson and defensive tackle Desmond Bryant discussing numbers. I expect at least one of those 3 to be resigned this week.
Finally, the Raiders will likely part ways with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly this week as well as addressing Darrius Heyward-Bey’s contract – will he be cut outright? Take a paycut?
I do not expect Rolando McClain to be cut until the new league year begins which is also the start of free agency. Cutting him before then would accelerate a prorated cap amount into 2013 entirely. If they wait until after the start of the new year they can designate him as a "June 1st" cut which would spread his contract over both 2013 and 2014.
Expect a busy week and, after a month of hardly any Raiders news, that should be a welcome development for the Nation.
For Raiders updates as they develop, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
Photo by Levi Damien