Programming note: NFL free agency begins today -- get the latest Raiders news tonight at 6, 10:30 p.m. and midnight on SportsNet Central, only on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
The new league year begins today at 1 p.m. PT and under the previous regime, fans would have expected the Raiders to go all in on free agency and look to make a splash with a signing...or five.
But those days are long gone. Not that the Raiders and second-year general manager Reggie McKenzie are asleep at the wheel. It's just that they have a plan, one more deliberate and with an eye on the future more than in the past.
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So what is Oakland's first move of the NFL's new year? Probably handling one, or five, of its own 17 in-house unrestricted free agents. And that means re-signing, in no particular order, linebacker Philip Wheeler, who led the Raiders with 109 tackles, defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, who tied for the team lead with four sacks, and tight end Brandon Myers, who had a team-best 79 receptions.
And if they do sign them immediately, it makes you wonder why they did not do so when they had the exclusive negotiating window. But as one league source said, it's not as easy as it sounds, and Wheeler knows this…otherwise, it would have been done already.
Last week's restructuring of contracts belonging to right guard Mike Brisiel and strong safety Tyvon Branch reportedly gave the Raiders some $8.5 million in salary cap room.
So also keep an eye on developments with defensive tackle Tommy Kelly ($11.099.270 million cap number), receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey ($10.601 million) and quarterback Carson Palmer ($15.335 million) to provide even more room.
But as noted above, the Raiders are in no hurry.