When Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis fired PR director Zak Gilbert earlier this month, many reporters speculated it as a shot towards GM Reggie McKenzie. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King even went on record saying he believes that McKenzie “will be in trouble” if Oakland doesn’t turn out significantly better in the 2013 season.
Regardless of Davis going public and declaring that Gilbert’s firing was not linked to McKenzie, in no way McKenzie’s job have been threatened in the first place.
To me, it’s a ludicrous statement made by someone who has not followed what has transpired within the Raiders’ organization in the last two seasons. McKenzie was brought in to clean house and rebuild. Raiders fans know that. So far, he has done so, and pretty well too.
Writers on Rotoworld insist that Oakland’s 4-12 record in 2012, where “several free agent busts” occurred, should tie into a possible 2013 departure for the GM. If you’re calling Mike Brisiel, Shawntae Spencer and Ron Bartell key additions, you’ve already got me questioning the validity of that argument.
Keep in mind that the Raiders entered that free agent period with an outrageously negative salary cap situation. Let’s also not forget the addition of Philip Wheeler for a measly $540,000. His performance in 2012 landed him a five-year, $26 million deal, with $13 million in guaranteed cash from the Miami Dolphins. I’d say he was far from a bust.
While we cannot say who will be a bust or a breakthrough just yet in 2013, one thing is for sure — serious fat has been trimmed. His changes to the team this offseason has Oakland set up to have over $70 million in cap space for 2014, which is more than enough to address any team need.
On top of all the releases performed by McKenzie, the team is arguably better and visibly younger after signing a slew of players under 30-years old. 2013 shouldn’t be the most impressive season from Oakland, but fans in the Nation have expected this rebuilding phase. Reporters and analysts should be able to recollect the same.
Many fans, including myself, are supremely pleased with the moves McKenzie has made. Let’s give the team some time before any rash suggestions are thrown out there.