The Raiders head into NFL free agency armed with significant salary-cap space and a desire to upgrade this roster with big names you’ve heard before.
General manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jack Del Rio will lead this attempt to upgrade the roster. It’s a period full of excitement and anticipation for Raiders fans and owner Mark Davis, the man prepared to write big checks.
“Tomorrow I’m heading down to the bank and picking up that Brinks truck and getting it ready for the free agency period,” Davis said with a laugh on the “TK Show,” a podcast released Friday and hosted by San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami. “…We’re free to do whatever we need to do to bring the players in.”
McKenzie spent his first two years as GM getting the Raiders right with the salary cap. He had roughly $63 million in cap space last year, but signed 15 veteran free agents without a long-term ramifications, to plug holes in a still leaking ship. With a young foundation being built, McKenzie will go after fewer, more high-impact free agents.
“The whole thing has been a process over the last three years, to put ourselves in the position we’re in right now,” Davis said. “Now we can start signing some guys to longer term contracts. We’re looking for players that can make a difference. It’s really exciting. There are some players out there. We’ll see what we can do.”
The Raiders have been linked to several high-profile free agents, including defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Terrance Knighton, receiver Randall Cobb and some quality running backs. If players of that caliber are signed and meet high expectations, the Raiders are far better positioned to compete after 11 wins in the last three seasons.
“I’m ready for players who can help us win,” Davis said. “I’m looking for guys who can form the identity of this Raiders organization. We’re always looking for that. There are some players out there, but this is a very competitive thing. It is exciting.”