Free agency started Tuesday and it didn't start out well. Certainly not the way that free agency used to start when Al Davis was alive and running the team.
Michael Huff, Heyward-Bey and Dave Tollefson were unceremoniously released. These cuts left Huff with over $9 million of dead money spread over two years and Heyward-Bey with just over $5 million of dead money for 2013. Tollefson only counts for $625,000 - but collectively, these cuts were spendy and the Raiders already had a good amount of dead money on the books.
And that's the way the first day of free agency ended. No new players signed but the team lost 5 players, a few of which were pretty important to the team going forward. A hell of a lot different than being the first to smack down the cash for a veteran free agent with a chip on his shoulder, eager to prove his previous team wrong. Not that this was the best approach in the past, but... well, just saying, it's different.
Day 2 of free agency was more active. The team signed LB Kaluka Maiave from Cleveland, LB Jason Hunter from Denver and DE Pat Sims from Cincy. Need fillers that came inexpensive and at this point I felt a little better than the 1-1-1 defense I was afraid we'd be left with.
Day 3 of free agency was another quiet day, but there were rumors of Terrance Newman and Vince Young visiting the Raiders. No contracts were signed.
Day 4 of free agency was a mixture of additions and subtractions. The Raiders lost DE Matt Shaughnessy to Arizona and RB Mike Goodson to the Jets. Shaughnessy faded a little last year and signed a minimal deal with the Cardinals that the Raiders could have paid - if they wanted him. Goodson was primarily signed for the zone blocking scheme and since we are switching back to power blocking, his importance to the offense was reduced.
The best news of day 4 was the signing of LB Nick Roach from Chicago. His rep is a good player that's not flashy but is consistent, works hard and is a team leader.
It is hard to say what will happen in the days to come. Palmer's contract is looming - especially if the rumors of Young are true, where does that leave Palmer? McClain and Kelly are obvious question marks that are probably only on the roster until whatever deadline passes so they can spread the cap hit out over a couple of years. Several free agents are still out there - Lechler, Mitchell, Myers, Carter and Hagan (among others).
What will the team look like when all is said and done? In the next few weeks, we'll have a better idea of what the priorities will be in the upcoming draft.