All fans dream big in free agency. Sometimes they get their wishes, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the team chases big names, sometimes not. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if they go after big names or not if they are not in a financial position to pay them what another team will pay.
What position will the Raiders be in? Well, it seems like fans shouldn’t be looking too high.
“How active can we be in free agency? I think we are going to be active, the question is, at what level? Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said in a video conference last week. “We have been active with the players on day one and day two for the last few years. I think there will be a lot of depth in the free agency market this particular year. I think there will be more veterans in the market and I think it is up to us to be patient. “
Mayock may have mentioned something here about free agency this year.
While the Raiders are slashing big contracts and have yet to re-sign their own free agents, they are not alone. It’s happening all over the league. And teams that play this one-time free agency period well could get great value.
This year, the salary cap is falling due to lost income from the pandemic. It is not yet clear how much of the drop, but considering that the limit was raised every year before, the drop is significant. And it means that not only will the market be teeming with talent, but it will also be more affordable than in previous years.
We are less than a week away from the free agency negotiation period and with each passing day, more talented players are eliminated, adding to the overall talent pool. Plus, there will be plenty of players looking for one-year deals with their eyes on the upcoming offseason for their lucrative long-term deal.
Some teams that have a lot more cap money to invest may pick the best players if they are willing to ignore these factors. The Raiders are far from being one of those teams, but they could put themselves in a much better position with a few pitches over the next week.
They’ve already released WR Tyrell Williams and reports have them notifying guards Gabe Jackson and Richie Incognito and DB Lamarcus Joyner of their releases. There are also reports that they are trying to trade QB Marcus Mariota and T Trent Brown. This would also mean that there is a chance that if they don’t make a trade, they can release them.
Should all of those players get eliminated or traded, they represent around $ 45 million in salary space. If the cap were $ 180 million as some believe it will be, that would put the Raiders at around $ 40 million in capitalization space.
But while they would have a lot of money, they would also have to fill in the holes they had just made.
Mayock added that the Raiders “will try one or two high-level players” in this free agency, but quickly noted that he’s not sure what kind of skills the Raiders will have to compete in the market. His last words about it were somewhat revealing.
“One way or another, I think we’ll be active in free agency,” Mayock continued. “I don’t know if it will be the first day, the first week or the first month, but at some point I hope that we will try to fill some gaps in free agency.”
‘At some point’ is doing a lot of work here. They have many holes. And it would have to be opened more to have more room in the salary cap.
Mayock is a draft guy. That is where you would like to build the team. With free agency to fill in the gaps. Those ‘gap’ players might not be exciting, but neither is having to cut out ‘exciting’ additions a season or two later.