For the first time in many moons, all is quiet in Alameda.
Yes, I know it's early, and yes, I know they re-signed Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler (who clearly would've been the best players at their respected positions in free agency), but let's not forget that the Raiders were a 5-11 team last year with those two players and have done nothing to ensure improvement for next year.
Contrasted with the successful re-signings of Asomugha and Lechler, the Raiders found a way to lose two solid starters from last years squad - starting center, Jake Grove, and their second leading tackler, Gibril Wilson.
Word is that Raider brass (Lord Al Davis) was reluctant to pay Grove the big dollars for an oft-injured player, while Wilson was either a cap casualty or had worn out his welcome by defying Coach Tom Cable's team-first philosophy in a series of attacks through the media last season. As a result, Bill Parcells made a couple nice pickups and seems to believe he's two players closer to another Super Bowl.
Although it's nice to see Uncle Al being more prudent with his allowance, one has to wonder how much the embarrassment of last year's dreadful signings weigh on the doctrines of the current offseason. I mean, really, who's football knowledge would you rather count on right now — Parcells or Davis?
After watching the first and second tier of free agents slowly fade away, the Raiders seem content in waiting, hoping to catch a bargain at the bottom of the barrel. This would be well and good if the Raiders had only one or two positions of need, but with the loss of Grove and Wilson, you can now add center and strong safety to a grocery list that already included DT, WR, T, G, FS, and MLB.
Unless the Raiders pull off the greatest draft in....well, history, it looks like Raider Nation could be in for another long year.
There in lies the importance of free agency. In order to be competitive next year, the Raiders will have to pick up three or four starters by the time the draft rolls around. Thus far, all they have to show for it is Erik Pears.
I hope I'm wrong in questioning Lord Al's judgement. I hope he's sitting on his throne putting together that mega-deal to acquire Anquan Boldin or Jason Peters, supplying starving Raider fans with a little more hope on offense while providing flexibility in the upcoming draft.
But so far, all that's been proven in free agency is how reluctant Davis has been to take any chances this offseason — waiting until the last minute to nix deals for both Grove and former Jacksonville left tackle Khalif Barnes.
So, could it be that the 'ole gunslinger has finally lost his nerve? Have the ghosts of free agency past finally caught up to Mr. Davis? Maybe the next couple days will give us a clue to the direction this team is going in. I just hope the Raiders aren't waiting until the end of April to be told they're on the clock.