McKenzie’s still a year away from rebuilding Raiders


Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is obviously a man of faith.

Why else would he have taken on a rebuilding project that would take two years before he could afford to buy the tools needed to do the job?

When the Raiders waived linebacker Rolando McClain yesterday, they did not apply the June 1 designation to spread the salary cap hit over two years.

By doing so, they pushed their dead money to around than $45 million, according to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group. That’s more than a third of this year’s salary cap for players no longer there to “help.”

Dead money’s the accelerated bonus for traded or released players, and the Raiders have a pile of it.

McClain joins big dead money drags including defensive tackles Richard Seymour ($13.714 million) and Tommy Kelly ($6.324 million), quarterback Carson Palmer ($9.34 million) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey ($5.260 million).

Coupled with their aggressive giving away of draft picks (including their 2011 first for Seymour, their 2012 first and 2013 second for Palmer), the Raiders are in this mess for a good reason.

Aside from the second-rounder that Cincinnati still owns, the Raiders are also short a fifth-rounder this year for the ill-fated Aaron Curry deal, but other than that, they’re no longer giving away premium picks. The 2014 fifth-rounder and conditional 2015 seventh from the Matt Flynn deal is all they’ve traded away from future drafts.

Once McKenzie’s actually able to do his job, he might be able to build something. After clearing the books this year, the Raiders are expected to have around $50 million in salary cap space.

And if he’s judged before he’s able to use it, the organizational problems in Oakland might be too big for anyone to overcome.

66 responses to “McKenzie’s still a year away from rebuilding Raiders

  1. the raiders have been rebuilding since their last SB when the bucs beat them

  2. In the last 10 years, Al ran the Raiders like the federal government. The piper will eventually have to be paid. Finally, the mess is getting cleaned up. Now if this could only happen in D.C.

  3. I think Reggie’s doing the right things. I’ve been a Raider fan my whole life and I have to admit, he came into a real sh!t show. Al Davis had been making bad personnel moves for a LONG time. And Reggie had to redo the entire organization too. All things considered, I think Reggie’s doing an incredible job remaking the organization and the roster. Gotta be patient.

  4. Clayton says there’s $69 mil cap room in 2014.

    Rome wasnt built in a day. Gonna take awhile to fix Al’s (RIP) and Hue’s mess.

  5. Sometimes, before you can build up something new, you have to completely destroy what was there before.

  6. Was this written by McKenzie’s agent? Raiders were 8-8 for two consecutive seasons prior to McKenzie and 4-12 since he arrived. He’s had far more misses than hits and the Raiders may not win a game this year.

    Pinning this on Al Davis is predictable, and some of the mistakes are his, but not nearly all.

  7. The raiders are on the subway diet trimming the fat of past years mistakes 2014 well be a lean mean fighting machine and if were the worst team so be it. Clowney would look good terrorizing qbs in silver and black I’m patient cause it will be the start of a dynasty.

  8. It takes some guts to admit a team, in any sport, needs to be blown up and rebuilt from scratch. It’s the admission you don’t expect to compete for a championship for at least 2+ years.

    The Raiders made some horrible, horrible decisions in recent years; the trade for Carson Palmer being one of the biggest fleecings in recent memory.

    Here’s to the owner and GM agreeing it’s time to start over.

  9. I just hope Mark Davis doesn’t have another panic attack like he did last season when he whined about not winning (and get rid of Reg and start all over yet again). Or, that could have been a stunt as well, showing his will to win NOW, while knowing it is not quite possible yet.

    Surely he had to know RM’s plan, that it would take ridding lames like #55 and other ridiculous players with out of whack contracts to get the team where he could actually build afresh. This had to be known, and it had to be understood upfront that it would take a couple years to get there. Thus, I don’t buy totally into Mark Davis’ tantrum last season as completely legit.

    That said, Dennis Allen better show improvement in play calling (not that he’s doing it, but he’s still responsible) unity of team, improvement of defensive and offensive schemes, common sense to build the teams philosophy and schemes on their talent, NOT attempt to make the team BECOME a Knapp ran show that didn’t fit the talent, and show marked apparent improvement in competition or this may be his last season as HC.

  10. 2 out of 3 people in this photo are in the Sweet Hair Club for Men…can you guess who they are? Of course you can…you recognize sweet hair when you see it!

  11. This is a process and we as raider fans need to be on board for the “long haul”. Give he and DA at least 2 more years . I’m convinced that if we can show marginal improvement this year, we can get the FA’s reggie needs to build a contender.

  12. A LOT of talented guys took 1 year deals this year to go along with franchised players & restricted free agents. Oakland could be back as soon as next year. Having said that, unless their young guys step up in a HUGE way this year, it’s gonna be tough to watch them in 2013.

    “With the 1st pick in the 2014 draft, the Oakland Raiders select …”

  13. Rayderz fans will need to be patient on the rebuilding of their team. It took crazy old Al over 50 years to run the franchise into the ground.

  14. While the Raiders overpaid for guys like Palmer and Seymour, letting them go for nothing doesn’t do much beyond put the Raiders in pole position for the top pick in 2014. If McKenzie wanted to prove he was a top GM, he’d hire a coach who could turn chicken #### into chicken salad. The name of the game in the NFL is winning and so far McKenzie is unimpressive on that score. What if he turns out to be like the rotating cast of front office guys in Cleveland?

  15. I’ll say it again. Who traded for Carson Palmer? Who traded for Aaron Curry? Who traded for Richard Seymour & then gave him that contract? Who gave Tommy Kelly his contract. Who drafted DHB & gave him his contract? Who drafted Rolando McClain? I could go on & on. The name Reggie MacKenzie doesn’t appear as responsible for any of the above transactions. 45 million this season, could turn into 50 million under the cap next year. The last decade was dysfunctional with the Raiders. Multiple coaching changes, bad draft picks, bad trades & bad free agent signings. It takes more than a year to fix what this is. A complete mess.

  16. At least another decade of nothingness, and maybe longer with a Davis in ownership.

  17. autumnwind999 says: Apr 6, 2013 10:19 AM

    Was this written by McKenzie’s agent? Raiders were 8-8 for two consecutive seasons prior to McKenzie and 4-12 since he arrived. He’s had far more misses than hits and the Raiders may not win a game this year.

    Pinning this on Al Davis is predictable, and some of the mistakes are his, but not nearly all.
    They went 8-8 and Davis fired Cable and promoted Jackson, who claimed that Davis actually offered him the GM job. Davis pulled the trigger on first round picks like McClain, Heyward-Bey, Russell, Fabian Washington, and Phillip Buchannon. He overpaid guys like Wimbley, Routt, Kelly, and Lechler. He threw huge money at FAs like DeAngelo Hall, Javon Walker, and Gabril Wilson. I have the utmost respect for for Davis’ body of work. He is the reason I’m a Raider fan, but in the past decade, pretty much all of the mistakes were his.

  18. While I can’t agree with everything R. McKenzie has done, he is definitely preparing the Raiders to be able to draft and spend very efficiently in the next several years. I’m going to be patient, and who knows, it’s quite possible we could see Johnny Football in Silver and Black!! Now that’s a kid who can change a football team….

  19. We’ll see how Reggie handles another losing season, which is inevitable as part of this rebuilding process. I have a feeling a lot of Raider fans will be calling for Allen’s head…me included. Does he stick with his guy? Or give into the pressure to fire him?

  20. When the Raiders are on the successors to the successors to Al Davis in 2016 and still trying to find an identity after some more horrible seasons, maybe then people will stop giving this moron a pass because bashing Davis was the fashionable thing to do in his old age. McKenzie is in over his head and the coaches he hired are akin to a high school staff.

    This thing looks as bleak with the same sorry excuses that I saw from the Rams camp under their last two administrations before Fisher took over.

    Alot of pointing back to what somebody else did to excuse why the current guys aren’t getting the job done, which resulted in quite a few top 5 finishes on draft day in the meantime.

  21. I think Raiders fans will be pleasantly surprised this year. Bringing in a whole new cast of players can be a good thing. It changes the attitude from we’re losers to optimists especially rookies and young discarded players who have something to prove. Look at the 2011 Bengals see ya Carson(sorry) bye- bye Ochocinco Good riddance TO so long Jonathan Joeseph(great player, bad attitude). Hope they have good scouts and draft best players available and sign good undrafted players to begin a solid base for 2014. Kinda miss having the Raiders be relevant as I know their fans hate the steelers as much as me!

  22. That’s how rebuilding a team goes, first you have to do some house cleaning, some houses are messier than others.

    Than you need to build a competitive team winning or losing close games, and then build them into a contender.

    Sometimes it takes a couple years, as TT did in GB and there is always going to be growing pains.

    Sometimes you get lucky and can turn around quickly like the Colts, with developed talent and elite potential in the draft.

    Sometimes you think a team has turned the corner like the Lions after making the playoffs, but then have a terrible season after it.

  23. For what it’s worth, nobody should be blaming anyone in the Raiders’ front office, past or present, for Rolando McClain. The year he was drafted, all the experts had him pegged as a future Pro Bowl linebacker, and everyone praised the pick. Sometimes a bust is just a bust, and it’s the player’s fault for not living up to expectations, not the team’s fault for drafting him.

  24. Al did everything he could to try to win another ring before his death. I cannot fault the man for that. But in Reggie I trust…and I agree Mark HAD to have known Reggie’s plan, and if Mark, as this article suggests as a possibility, gets rid of Reggie before he has a full deck to play with…then this die-hard Raider Nation member of 30-plus years will be done. And THAT would be the only thing harder than the job Reggie walked in to.

  25. Reggie is simply following his Green Bay training, like John Schneider in Seattle. The really scary part is when he can finally dip a toe into free agency, something he didn’t get to see in Green Bay. His plan is sound. Raider fans should be optimistic indeed.

  26. Reggie is just doing what he needs to do first. Clearing the dead weight out of the cap. And no one had more of that than the Raiders. For those who say he hasn’t done his job thus far, what has he had to work with? Depleted of draft picks this year and last and hamstrung by a salary cap mess he inherited, this had to be his first step. We’ll start seeing what he is made of on the draft side this year and next. And he will have a clean cap to work with, so when he does sign a player he wont have to backload the deal and mortgage future seasons like AD did. Its hard to watch right now, but they will be better off in the long run.

  27. Hate the Raiduhs, but admire Reggie for taking the hard road and wish him well.

    Plus, they might not be too bad this year anyway. The QB position is upgraded already, and that’s half the battle.

  28. The Palmer trade conducted by thw previous regime is why Hugh Jackson will NEVER be a head coach again. Dumb move, and they can show for it is dead cap space.

  29. Its about time one of you experts got on board and printed what Ive been saying since Big Reg took over. I said 3 years until they were competitive. Obviously hoping for sooner, but this is only year 2 and we are on the right track. Good times are on the horizon, cant wait!

  30. I love what RM has done so far. Getting rid of Knapp and all the overpaid underachievers cannot possibly be a bad thing.

    I think they’ll actually have a better record this upcoming season but still not good enough to contend. 2014 is when we’ll see a true McKenzie product on the field.

    Good time to be a Raider fan.

  31. One thing this article fails to mention, will the Raiders still draft players purely on 40 times? Or will they now branch out and also consider football skills?

  32. Some posters like @autumnwind999 don’t really have much football knowledge. To blame McKenzie for the team’s miserable performance is just asinine. It’s like blaming a new homeowner for a rundown house you left him with that has a deteriorating foundation and a leaky roof but has no money to fix it.

  33. raiderrob21 says:
    Apr 6, 2013 12:41 PM
    Its about time one of you experts got on board and printed what Ive been saying since Big Reg took over. I said 3 years until they were competitive. Obviously hoping for sooner, but this is only year 2 and we are on the right track. Good times are on the horizon, cant wait!

    We were COMPETITIVE in 2010 and 2011 and improving on the verge of a breakthrough. This team regressed remarkably on the field in 2012 and it has everything to do with the COACHES that REGGIE MCKENZIE HIRED….. NOT THE PLAYERS!!! This was a young powerful offense that was built through the draft.

    Yeah Reggie fires Knapp, but he hires Greg Olsen who is far worse and doesn’t have any record of success. He doesn’t even have the sense to hire Bob Wylie the running game coordinator that McFadden tore the league up under.

    McKenzie may be a great scout… Terrible GM…point blank… Period …cut & dry.

  34. It’s easy to take out the trash. I could have made the cuts that McKenzie has made, I just would have made them last year. McKenzie has to be judged by the talent he brings in, still waiting.

  35. Raiders need a Healthy RB..Some LBs & Revis type Corner..NO more taken the fastest player available..and a NT wouldn’t hurt either.

  36. The raiders screwed up when they fired Hue Jackson. They were on the cusp edge of making the playoffs and probably would have made it the next year. Granite, the Palmer trade was questionable but they had a playoff roster and depth at the RB and WR positions. The O line had been suspect for the past 8yrs but explosive plays and good run game will keep people honest… Instead, they fire him, got rid of Bush and a few other key players and now they will be lucky if they win 5 games…

  37. Other teams have transitioned from a worst to first type of change. McKenzie is moving slow and he lacks a clear and solid plan to really help this team get to a high level. He’s wasting time and has no idea what he is doing.

  38. A good GM is able to make changes and keep a team completive. Some of Reggie’s cuts were not about the money.
    Blaming Al for missing on some #1 picks is partly the NFL’s fault … the huge rookies contracts were insane and if they were busts … you were screwed.
    But hey if the Colts can throw a season to get a top pick … I guess the Raiders can too but then thats not the Raiders ways way is it?
    What I don’t understand is why Reggie did not start cleaning house last year … he wasted a whole year. If he would have cut all of these players last year … he would have been ahead of his rebuilding process … instead he’s added another losing year.

  39. By reading the comments you can see who are Al Davis fans and those who are Oakland Raiders fans. Reggie isn’t going to quick fix this team like Al Davis chose to every year since trading Jon Gruden and Reggie isn’t going to manipulate the cap every year hoping this is the year they will win the Super Bowl.

    Like it or not, Mark Davis has a plan and Reggie’s running it for him. The plan is simple, hire a football man and let him run the show and get things in order financially and produce a modern era team, not a team based on out-of-date prinicpals and ideals. I loved Al Davis and he was among the reasons I stayed a Raiders fan, but at the same time he spent the last 10 years ruining the franchise.

    Now Reggie’s here to fix the problem and Mark Davis has to understand it’s not a simple fix. Mark was upset with how Greg Knapp ran the offense last year after two years of success under Hue Jackson, but Reggie was smart enough to admit a mistake, cut his losses, and bring back a system that works.

    Next year when Reggie has $70 million to give out in contracts you won’t be seeing key players leave. Jared Veldheer, Stefan Wisniewski, and Lamarr Houston will all receive big guaranteed contracts and Reggie will be finally able to afford to keep his own. Let’s just hope he drafts well and continues to unearth undrafted rookie free agents gems as well as free agent gems.

  40. RaiderAlex99. Reggie said in his initial press conference that the ENTIRE football operation was going to be evaluated. Scouting has been revamped. He allowed the players that were there to show what they were. Many were not worthy of the contract hit for the upcoming season. That 45 million of dead cap space can be 50 million under the cap next year. That team under Hue Jackson had stopped being competitive late in the season. In reality, they were lucky they finished at .500.

  41. A legit rebuild is no joke. I think the Rams only have 2 players from pre-2010 on the roster, the arrow is pointed up though. Have patience Raider fans.

  42. Given other options, FA’s will only choose to go to oakland if they’re severely overpaid, as in the past.

    Everyone in the league knows the franchise is a train wreck from the facilities to the ownership to the FO on down.

    Will the fanbase be pissed when Reggie is forced to overpay to get any decent talent in town? Remember, dead Al had to do the same thing and you know the results of that.

  43. johnstone17 says:
    Apr 6, 2013 2:26 PM
    RaiderAlex99. Reggie said in his initial press conference that the ENTIRE football operation was going to be evaluated
    That’s what every GM in any sports says.
    You want to success in the NFL … you need 3 things!
    1. Good Coach
    2. Good QB
    3. Good DE

    Reggie brought in his coach … failed
    Reggie replaced the QB … ???
    Now Reggie needs to find his DE and lets see what he does.

    I’m not buying in this “In Reggie We Trust” … he has done nothing to improve the team … only cut players … sign 1 year contracts … signing players out of football (????) which any GM good or bad can do.

    I will give Reggie props when he actually does something to improve the team’s win. All Reggie is doing is buying time …
    first year … evaluate
    2nd year … cut the big contracts
    3rd year … no excuses
    4th year … diappointing finish again
    5th year … same as above … fired!

  44. Whether McKenzie will be a good GM or not, only time will tell. I like what I see so far. I only hope he will be around long enough to see the fruits of his labor.
    He inherited an absolute mess. Multiple bad contracts and bad drafting ever since Bruce Allen and Gruden left. The biggest problem in the past was that Al Davis always felt he was one or two good players away from being a contender. The only way to attract talent to Oakland was to overpay, thus bad contracts… That coupled with bad drafting and a revolving door of coaches = worst franchise in all of football.
    At least now you have a GM in place who recognizes that you basically have to start over. To be successful in the NFL, you must draft well. You must build a team through the draft and use free agency sparingly and wisely. Only adding a key player or two, and only if the price is right.
    The days of picking combine standouts and track stars seems to be over.. What this team needs is football players regardless of how big or fast they are, or how strong their arm is.. They need guys who can play on Sundays and love to play football… No more fur coats and bling… No more me first guys… We need team players… Animals… If they go this route and draft well and get a little lucky, I believe they’ll get this franchise back on track.

  45. slickster35 says: Apr 6, 2013 2:43 PM

    Given other options, FA’s will only choose to go to oakland if they’re severely overpaid, as in the past.
    Everyone in the league knows the franchise is a train wreck from the facilities to the ownership to the FO on down.
    Will the fanbase be pissed when Reggie is forced to overpay to get any decent talent in town? Remember, dead Al had to do the same thing and you know the results of that.
    The Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game in 19 years, and were the worst team in the league last year, but they have been able to sign free agents. The Raiders will be flush with money next year and won’t have any trouble bringing in the players they want at fair market value. You better hope the Chiefs can win something with that Niner trash heap QB and your one-dimensional RB soon.

  46. McKenzie has done a good job trimming the fat. But realistically, that was the easy part. His acquisitions so far have been average at best. Now comes the hard part of identifying talent to fit their ever changing scheme. Question is ,will Dennis Allen be hung out to dry by the time Reggie has the ammo needed to acquire talent?

  47. I’m hearing 69 million dollars, then it was 68 million dollars, now I’m reading 50 millon dollar salary cap space next year. By the time next year rolls around, it’ll be 15 million dollars over. Make up your mind how much money it is

  48. I DONT know HOW it gone TURN OUT ? TRUE we were 8-8 the prior 2 yrs and i still believe Carson would have been ALOT BETTER in Yr 2 with Hue and full offseason in the same system. Hell look what that system did with DHB! RM has made some mistakes i.e Richard Seymour! he should have ask him to restructure and with the refusal cut him! and resigned BUSH!!! I DIDNT LIKE THE DA OR KNAPP HIRING! 1 DOWN 1 TO GO! I WILL SAY THIS! OUR CAP SITUATION IS LOOKING BRIGHT FOR 2014 AND BEYOND WHILE RM BE THE ONE SPENDING IT IM NOT SURE I MEAN IM READING ALOT YOU ALL COMMENTS ABOUT HOW HE HAS A PLAN WELL RIDDLE ME THIS SO THE PLAN IS TO GO BACK TO A MORE TRADITIONAL OFFENSE POWER RUNNING AND DOWN FIELD THROWS AND YOU BRING IN A WESTCOAST QB FLYNN? THAT IS SUITED FOR WE JUST JUNKED! HES DOING A FINE JOB WITH CAP MANAGEMENT YES EVERYTHING ELSE THE JURY IS OUT!!!!!!!!!

  49. As loyal Raider fans we have to be realistic in our support…as you would with a true friend. Yes, you support them, but if you are a true friend you also have to be there to tell the hard truths.

    The hard truth here is that Al Davis was a pioneer in his prime…a legend in fact. However, like most very successful men…he was a bit of an ego maniac. In the end that was his downfall…as he still believed he was ahead of everyone else at the table…when the truth is that the business side of football and the way the game was played was passing him by. He overvalued physical attributes of athletes and undervalued actual on field performance. He also overvalued his players and undervalued the role of his coaching staff and the importance of a system, structure, and player accountability. He was a great man and was a significant part of building pro football and pushing it into the future…but in the end he made a lot of mistakes. It was sad to see such a “larger than life” kind of man just wither away like he did. He was the beating heart of the Raiders organization and loved his players unconditionally. I salute him for that…but we have to admit he had his faults or we are just being false. After all, he benched Marcus Allen over a personal vendetta that almost nobody in the league can explain. He was highly regarded as one of the best football players ever and extremely likable. I’m just saying…the man wasn’t perfect….nobody is.

    We as Raider fans know that for the past decade we have not been able to get a respectable coaching staff under Al Davis. We also had to grossly overpay for any players we desired…and most of them were big names on the back end of their careers. It was just bad business. We had not made any investments in front office staff or the tools to do the job correctly in the modern era. I say again….we could not even bring in respectable coaches or players. I think the fact that Reggie took this job at all says a great deal about his character and how highly he regards Al Davis and the Raider organization…and what it used to represent. I think he…like all of us…wants nothing more than to see us great again. He has a monumental hill to climb, and considering how bad it was…a two year turn around is freakin remarkable. If we are over .500 in 2014…I’m sure he will be even more highly regarded amongst his peers around the league. If we are in the playoffs…he is executive of the year…period.

    My point is that Reggie took on a huge task. He already updated software, replaced front office personnel, hired new coaches, carved out $50 million in dead weight for next year, and built a better defense already….(In my opinion…LB, DB, DT all upgraded…with the exception of guys we couldn’t afford to pay)…and we have not even had the draft yet. Maybe Reggie wants this to be unconditionally his team….and maybe Mark Davis wants the same thing. He has to step out of daddy’s shadow somehow…and that’s no easy task. Let’s just support them and give them a little time to show progress before we get too critical. The one thing this organization needs more than anything is some consistency. Just my opinion folks. Silver and Black till the day I die. Go Raiders!

  50. First off logical voices, your a d-bag, skins suck
    Coach don’t care about player health, rg3 would’ve become great, now he’ll be injured every year, go away your dumb. That being said I feel bad for real raider fans, al went crazy and sunk a great franchise, Reggie is working with nothing, give him two more years and the raiders will be contenders, and I’m not a raider fan….go hawks

  51. Everyone of my post hasn’t shown up yet figure that! The Raiders will take this cap hit this year, and come out next year tactfully! They will be feared in the league next year, with an unprecedented cap swing of 90 million for 2014

  52. Reggie had better get the Raiders doing better now, not next year or two or three. It’s past time for the Raiders to return to glory and winning Super Bowls. What the Raiders need is blocking and a running back that can last a whole season, time to trade that injury flake McFadden.

  53. All I know is firing Hue Jackson set this team back at least two years and potentially much, much longer.

    Who’s responsible for that?

  54. I believe the raiders gone be the team to beat come the 2014/15 season I think Reggie is handling this situation well and gone have us as contenders for many years to come you watch and see one more year won’t hurt and who knows how this year turn out it might be a surprise year RAIDERS gone have money to play with 2014 teams beware raider nation will be back

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