While most teams are making headlines by adding players to their rosters, the Raiders have made headlines by doing the opposite. In a weeks time, the Raiders have released Justin Fargas, Javon Walker, Greg Ellis and have lost Cornell Green to the Buffalo Bills via free agency.
Fargas led the Raiders in carries, and was tied for most rushing touchdowns. Greg Ellis was the starting defensive end, and was tied for the team lead in sacks. Cornell Green was the starting tackle, and Javon Walker was, well nobody knew where he was.
In most cases when you lose players that contribute that many minutes or lead the team in production, it isn't a good thing. In this case, it is a great thing for the Raiders.
The NFL is a business, more than it is a game, and the reality of the business can be pretty hard to handle for most fans. This offseason is a prime example of just how harsh a business the NFL can be.
Many long time fan favorites of many teams have been released due to financial reasons. Fargas joins running backs, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, Thomas Jones, and Chester Taylor in the "30 is too old to carry the load club."
You can add Ellis in the too old to keep on the roster club. Losing Green to the Bills, was like your wife losing her cat Whiskers, you won't miss him too much. Losing Walker, is like losing your favorite remote controlled Sham Wow. Wait, I guess you can't lose what you never really had or ever existed for that matter.
The Raiders have a very young team, and by not having these players on the roster, these young players will gain valuable playing time. The youth movement in Oakland has officially begun.
Darren Mcfadden and Michael Bush will benefit greatly from a two back system. It will be easy for these guys to get in the groove of the season, knowing they will have their carries every game.
Matt Shaughnessy should be very excited, though I'm sure losing Ellis wasn't easy for him. Ellis was a mentor to a lot of the young defensive lineman on the squad, but Shaughnessy's emergence made the Ellis decision a lot easier.
Though Walker didn't play much, he was the veteran guy for a very young receiving corps. Walker shouldn't be embarrassed, or even feel like his career is over. He isn't the first big WR acquisition that didn't work out. Look up some guy named Randy Moss, he did okay in his post-Raider career.
Losing Green does leave a hole on the offensive line, and I'm not talking about the type of holes that were missing during the season either. Will this make the Raiders draft the position that has been ignored for the past several years in the first round?
The smart business moves made by the Raiders will help them improve on the field, not only next season, but for years to come. Can Al Davis continue to make these smart decisions? Only time will tell, and we got plenty of time until opening day.
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