Despite a slow start to a highly anticipated free agency, Oakland Raiders’ general manager Reggie Mckenzie has definitely picked up steam. The team has signed 12 free agents and re-signed four of their own who were set to hit free agency. Within Raider Nation, Fridays are fast becoming McKenzie’s day of work for that seems to be when all the new signings have occurred.
The most recent signing being cornerback Carlos Rogers, who joins his former San Francisco 49ers teammate Tarell Brown in the silver and black. It’s interesting to note that sports media would have you believe that McKenzie is targeting players who are in the decline of their careers.
I was wary at first, but looking at the group of players now, I just see a group of players who really want to show that yes, there IS something left in the tank. The 2013 Raiders were made up of very young players and this sort of leadership will be welcome; especially with all the postseason experience that these players bring to the table.
Carlos Rogers boasts eight games played in the postseason with seven starts. He totaled 39 tackles, 31 of which were solo and also defended six passes. He is coming off of a season where he logged 59 tackles of which 44 were solo and he also had two interceptions and defended eight passes. Former Niners teammate Brown has eight postseason starts between 2011-2013, during which time he logged 32 tackles, 28 that were solo, along with two interceptions, seven defended passes, one forced fumble and also one fumble recovery.
McKenzie also recently signed DL CJ Wilson, a relatively unknown player to Raider Nation. During the Green Bay Packers’ 2010 Super Bowl run, Wilson played a key role for their defense and played in all four playoff games. He started in Super Bowl XLV and totaled six tackles of which five were solo and he also logged one sack. Another Packers’ player that McKenzie signed was wide receiver James Jones who helped the team to a victory in Super Bowl XLV as well. Over the course of his 11 postseason games, he logged 28 receptions totaling 410 yards for four touchdowns.
The Raiders acquired quarterback Matt Schaub from the Houston Texans for a sixth round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. This acquisition had me very leery at first, but once I saw how he restructured his contract to play for the Raiders, I was all in. Schaub helped the Texans to back to back AFC South titles in 2011 and 2012. Those titles were the franchise’s first and second division crowns. Schaub went on to lead the Texans to a franchise best 12-4 record in 2012 and they ultimately went on to an AFC Wild Card victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. Another Texan who joined the silver and black is DL Antonio Smith who also helped the Texans clinch their second consecutive AFC South crown.
Offensive lineman Kevin Boothe was signed as a free agent from the New York Giants. Booth helped the Giants win two Super Bowls and reach the playoffs three times between 2007 and 2013. He appeared in nine postseason games and starting four of those games. Defensive end Justin Tuck joins the Raiders from the Giants as well. Tuck joins the silver and black after nine seasons with the Giants, during which time he helped New York to two victories in Super Bowls XLVI and XLII.
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley is no stranger to the postseason either. Coming to the Raiders from the Pittsburgh Steelers after seven seasons, Woodley can boast helping the Steelers to a Super Bowl XLIII victory.
Of the 12 free agents signed by the Raiders, nine have serious postseason experience. While this may not play out for a long term plan, it most definitely fits into the “win now” mentality that has been reported to be the mindset of the Raiders. These players that, according to some, are in the decline of their careers, really seem to have a chip on their shoulders, with something to prove. They need to prove that there is something left in the tank and they seem overjoyed to be with the Raiders, a team that also has something to prove. I don’t know about you, but I really can’t wait to see all these puzzle pieces in action come preseason!