The Oakland Raiders faced a peculiar situation entering free agency, with a somewhat decided path on their hands. After the 2016 season, the clear priority for the organization was finding deals for franchise players Derek Carr and Khalil Mack, but general manager Reggie McKenzie still has work to be done.
While the negotiations with those two players seem to be heading in the right direction, McKenzie still has other additions to think off. Heading into free agency, the defense needed to be addressed, specifically the interior pass rush and defensive backs. With the initial frenzy of free agency now complete, the Raiders finally have a chance to begin negotiations with many potential free agency replacements.
Entering the offseason, McKenzie had a pretty good understanding of what their situation would entail. Although Bruce Irvin did his best at recruiting some big name defensive free agents, the Raiders now enter contract talks with players they feel they can get at a bargain, via ESPN’s Adam Caplan:
#Raiders, as mentioned yesterday, were not going to be very active in free agency. They'll look for some bargains mostly on D.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 10, 2017
Upon virtually no free agency signings during the initial, fans everywhere witnessed the first signing off the offseason. The Raiders signed offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse, who will seemingly compete for the starting right guard position.
Although fans may be upset that the Raiders have waited so long to make any signings, they must first understand for McKenzie is coming from. With an already explosive offense and two cornerstone pillars of the franchise, the Raiders cannot afford to waste any of the roughly $42 million they have available in cap space.
According to Christopher Hansen of Raidersblog.com, the Raiders are attempting to seize some opportunities and don’t mind waiting for an appropriate price:
#Raiders are doing just fine in free agency so far. Players at need positions still out there and pricing will only fall.
— Christopher Hansen (@ChrisHansenNFL) March 10, 2017
With the 2017 NFL Draft set for April, the Raiders would certainly like to address some of their needs soon, that way they can have a clearer picture entering the draft. The Raiders currently hold the No. 24 pick in the first round of the draft.
Throughout these next few weeks, the Raiders should be very active on the defensive side of the ball, in an attempt to potentially steal some starting players way from another roster.