McKenzie feels secure in future

McKenzie feels secure in future
April 8, 2013, 9:45 am
Share This Post

Raiders owner Mark Davis (left) is allowing GM Reggie McKenzie to shed bad contracts in order to rebuild the team. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie will not meet with local media to discuss the April 25-27 NFL draft until two days before the first round. But McKenzie spoke with Sports Illustrated over the weekend and discussed to some degree the team's current salary cap situation while saying he does not fear for his job if the rebuilding process takes another step back this coming season.

After all, owner Mark Davis talked last year of his distaste for the "regression" the team showed during a late-season skid en route to a 4-12 finish.

"No, I don't fear that,'' McKenzie told SI. "You know what? I don't think along those lines. I just think of doing what's needed to make this team the best it can be long-term. That's my job. But fearful? No. Not at all.

"Mark knew the cap part of this was going to be a two-year deal. Mark is not his father. He is allowing me to do this, and we talk about it the process all the time. He's allowing me to do the job that needs to be done."

A year ago, the Raiders were in salary cap Hell with the $30 million deficit McKenzie inherited in taking the job. Now, it's more a salary cap purgatory as McKenzie continues to purge "out-of-whack" contracts. Still, more than a third of the Raiders' $123 million salary cap in 2013 will be in "dead money" thanks to the likes of former Raiders Richard Seymour ($13.714 million), Carson Palmer ($9.34 million), Rolando McClain ($7.26 million) Tommy Kelly ($6.324 million) and Darrius Heyward-Bey ($5.26 million).

Next season, though, the Raiders are expected to have around $50 million in cap space to go after front-line free agents. But as the cynic would suggest -- who would want to come and play for a team coming off such bleak seasons, while wondering if McKenzie would even still be on the job?

The optimist counters with McKenzie's belief that Davis has his back through the painful rebuild.

And there's still a draft to consider as the Raiders have seven selections, three of which are in the sixth round now after last week's Carson Palmer trade. But the Raiders still only have one pick in the top 65. And with just $75 million to spend on this year's club, it is further evidence the Raiders need to trade out of that No. 3 overall selection -- to not only get a more affordable pick, but garner more (ahem, cheaper) selections to replenish the roster.

A look, then, at the Raiders' most up-to-date draft selections…

1. First round, No. 3 (No. 3 overall): Own pick
2. Second round, No. 5 (No. 37 overall): belongs to Cincinnati from Carson Palmer trade of Oct. 18, 2011
3. Third round, No. 4 (No. 66 overall): Own pick
4. Fourth round, No. 3 (No. 100 overall): Own pick
5. Fifth round, No. 5 (No. 138 overall): belongs to Seattle from Aaron Curry trade of Oct. 14, 2011
6. Sixth round, No. 4 (No. 172 overall): Own pick
6. Sixth round, No. 8 (No. 176 overall): from Arizona in Carson Palmer trade of April 2, 2013. Pick was originally acquired by Arizona from Tennessee, through Minnesota
6. Sixth round, No. 37 (No. 205 overall): Compensatory pick awarded by NFL
7. Seventh round, No. 3 (No. 209 overall): Own pick
8. Seventh round, No. 13 (No. 219 overall): belongs to Arizona from Carson Palmer trade of April 2, 2013. Pick was originally acquired by the Raiders from Carolina for Louis Murphy on July 24, 2012