An organization and franchise is composed of many different leading figures and compartments, often time separating into their own ventures for the overall success of the team. In relation to the Oakland Raiders, general manager Reggie McKenzie still had free agency and the offseason, while Mark Davis handled the relocation to Las Vegas.
McKenzie has done a magnificent job aiding the Raiders towards their return to greatness, putting together a 2016 roster that had the entire fan base excited for the future. The Raiders understood that re-signing Derek Carr and Khalil Mack were the top priorities entering free agency, but McKenzie still was looking for some defensive bargains on the market.
McKenzie did just that, signing former Miami Dolphins linebacker Jelani Jenkins to a deal. But now that the Las Vegas relocation has been approved, we are starting to hear repsonses from those in the Raiders’ organization.
Both Mack and Carr were the among the first players to respond, stating their mixed emotions during this turning point in franchise history. Wednesday turned into an opportunity for McKenzie to respond, as he stated that the finality of the decision is a sigh of relief, via the Raiders’ Twitter account:
“Mark has been adamant about getting us a stadium and wanting to be here in Oakland, but when that did not seem possible, he had to go out outside, so we kept hearing about it for a long time. It’s a sigh of relief that okay it‘s over, but dang the finality kind of hits.”
The players and front office were sort of lost in all the commotion of the decision, unaware of the decision until it reached the media. While the Oakland fan base remains torn over the decision, the players have to now deal with the reality of the transition.
The Las Vegas Stadium won’t be ready until the 2020 season, leaving three more possible seasons in Oakland. The current lease agreement has the Raiders slated at the Oakland Coliseum during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, but the Oakland Coliseum has already stated they aren’t in favor of the Raiders returning in 2019.
Reality set in for McKenzie, understanding that this these next two seasons are going to be encompassed by a lot of mixed emotions. While the general manager of the Raiders stated that there is excitement moving forward, he is also going to enjoy every day he has left in the city of Oakland:
“Aw man, we’re just going to been in Oakland for a little bit longer, man I’m going to miss Oakland and stuff like that. That part of it is tough, but the excitement of moving forward to getting a new stadium and what that can bring is bittersweet. I’m going to enjoy every day while I’m in Oakland, that’s for sure.”
McKenzie not only ties into the history of the organization in his front office role, as he also spent four of his five NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders. While McKenzie still seeks final additions towards the 2017 roster, he must also understand that future contracts are impacted by the relocation.
At the end of the day, McKenzie remains a central figure that has expressed constant professionalism and a desire to win in Oakland. With two seasons remaining at the Oakland Coliseum, McKenzie has an opportunity to prepare a championship roster that can help give the Oakland fan base one final gift.