Oakland Raiders fans, are you enjoying the hiatus from this year-round thing called the NFL? Hey, it’s a good time to take a break—if your name is Tiger Woods. But not if you’re Al Davis and we’re into the first week of March.
Memo to Al: There’s this little thing called “free agency” and it’s passing your team by.
Usually, no news is good news, but not when it comes to the reshaping of a marquee franchise. Yes, I know, the Raiders have been there and done that and they flopped with free agency. Nobody wants to rehash the DeAngelo Hall story, so I understand being a little gun-shy.
But normally, the free agent signing period around Oakland is a time of renewed faith as the team is usually busy trying to fill some gaps, whether they make sense or not.
My ears might even perk up a little bit if the team were to re-sign Gibril Wilson.
I kid, I kid.
But with all due respect to the tagging of Richard Seymour and Janikowski’s’ new four year deal, the Raiders are no-shows at the free agent buffet table.
Perhaps the biggest news around Oakland was Saturday’s departure of veteran running back Justin Fargas. That is until Monday’s release of mega-bust receiver Javon Walker and injury-plauged defensive end Greg Ellis.
Not a surprise by any stretch that the Raiders would release both players. Walker was an over-paid, injury-prone deep threat that had lost a step, ending up playing just 11 games through his two seasons in Oakland.
Walker was cut by the Broncos in 2007 and then quickly signed with Oakland. The former Packer and Bronco signed a six year, $55 million deal that left most NFL personnel scratching their heads.
It just never panned out for Walker. In 2008, he struggled to produce, catching only 15 passes and in 2009 he hardly ever saw the field. Healthy or not, Walker was a huge mistake and the Raiders will still be on the hook in 2010 for another $2 million. But at least they can put this disaster behind them.
The latest Twitter rumor had Walker’s replacement, Antonio Bryant, maybe paying a visit to Oakland, but there's no word if he ever made it to Alameda. League sources are now saying the former Bucs receiver is headed to Cincinnati, where he could sign as early as Tuesday.
As for Ellis, he was a good signing by the Raiders. And by all accounts, a good player in the locker room, but the 11 year defensive end was just too banged-up to contribute to the team on a consistent basis.
With the departure of Ellis and the upcoming player selection process on the horizon, don’t be surprised if Al Davis uses the eighth pick on a high-risk defensive end.
South Florida’s Jason Pierre-Paul is the top-ranked defensive end in the 2010 NFL Draft. Even though he’s still a raw talent, experts say he’s got all the intangibles of a great pass-rushing end.
Mike Mayock of the NFL Network has compared the 6’6” 260-pound junior to “The Freak”—Javon Kearse. NFL scouts say Pierre-Paul has the size and the strength to battle with just about anybody at any level. He ran a blazing 40 time (4.6) at the NFL Combine and potentially could be a monster-edge rusher. The downside is he’s only played one season of Division I football.
Cindrich said this to The (Canton) Repository : “[Smith] would crawl from Baltimore right now to be able to play in Cleveland.
"That's clearly where his heart is. That's where his love is. He has a great relationship in Baltimore and with the fans as long as I don't muck it up too much. He has a great relationship with (Ravens GM) Ozzie Newsome.
"It's just that this is where home is. In the offseason, he tells me, 'Get me home.'"
We’ll that sounds pretty clear.
For those of you unaware, Smith has been a very popular choice to take over in Oakland.
Now that he’s probably out of the discussion Raider Nation, do you have a plan B?