Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Oakland Raiders – It’s time for a Bold Move

It's playoff time in the NFL, which means that the conversation about the Raiders moves on to the next year; will the Head Coach be fired or retained, which prized free agent will the team pursue in search of a quick fix, what will be the latest Al Davis draft mistake, etc. etc. etc.

The fact of the matter is that another year has passed and the organization remains in the same position irrelevant, down and out. The players and several card-carrying members of the Raider Nation have spoken of consistency in regard to Tom Cable remaining the Head Coach.

So-called inside sources/sources close to the team/un-named sources/ people who feel like they know - have stated that Cable went rogue benching JaMarcus Russell. Has it come down to Al choosing between Tom Cable & JaMarcus Russell? Does that make any sense?

Oakland needs stability in the front office, head coach, a coach that can teach the game of football, recognize weaknesses to exploit, devise solid game plans, motivate and lead the team to victory. Regardless of what you or I think those questions and that issue will be decided by Al Davis in a meeting on 1/10/10.

However, the reaction of the players and especially the fan base should provide a stubborn owner more signs that Raider fans have had it. I think that Al Davis needs to break out the Overhead projector and fire himself as the team's General Manager.
Drastic times call for drastic measures and for this team now is the time.

Beyond the obvious of someone else handling the draft for the team, Al Davis needs to make a bold move such as offering a package deal to the Rams for the number one pick in the draft.

He should offer RB Darren McFadden, QB JaMarcus Russell and SS Michael Huff in an attempt to land DT Ndamukong Suh. He should also be on the alert just in case the Rams decide to use that pick on QB Sam Bradford who will more than likely be the highest rated QB in the draft if he checks out medically and proves to be healthy.

If the Rams aren't buying it he could then offer a similar package to the Lions, minus Russell who are in search on offensive help. Here is some of the reasoning behind such a bold move:

1. These are overpriced non-productive players who have either exceeded their 3-5 year window to make an impact or have missed games due to injury but still have trade value.
2. Al Davis can’t be in anyway ready to scratch a series of checks to these players in excess of $28 million for 2010.
3. The team hasn’t gotten any significant return on investment with either player considering where each player was drafted.
4. Freeing up the team from the investment in each player to allow the team to restock more productive talent.
5. The Raiders need to develop their own drafted players, but the guys mentioned were guys the team missed on that a change in scenery could still be beneficial for both parties.
6. The Raiders need to make their money spent work for them on a more tangible level and produce some kind of value.

The goal would be to secure the 1st overall pick in the draft or the second as well as retain the original first choice so the team possess' two first round picks. If successful the team could land DT Ndamukong Suh & MLB Rolando McClain. The bold moves would fill two huge needs on this team replacing 10-year veteran Gerard Warren & Kirk Morrison currently a free agent.

The move would vastly improve the defense at two key positions, provide the Raiders with two solid young impact players that understand that losing is unacceptable, are instinctive, familiar with stopping the run and getting after a quarterback. We are all aware of the fat that the economy is bad, but for those who aren't seeing the entire picture the value of money is decreasing.

This statement is relevant on several levels. The Raiders have literally thrown away way too much money on guys that should have been drafted later than selected.

When you consider that Oakland in the last 23 seasons has had single digit wins in 18 of them, has lost 11 games a year for the last seven years, had top ten first round draft picks for seven years and missed on all of them, had two first round picks in 2002 & 2003 and only have Nnamdi Asomugha to show for those four picks, have thrown too much money at several veteran free agents, the team has also hired and fired several coaches without giving them the latitude to do their job without influence.

I hate to say it, but something has to be done at this high level of perpetual sucktitude! The league is currently re-working the Collective Bargaining Agreement and I want to propose a few changes myself. The Raiders are one of several franchises in the league that have been horrible for a while and are in need of an overhaul. It has resulted in several blowouts, non-competitive games and several local blackouts. These teams are causing the league to lose money.

Isn't it time that a clause is written into the CBA that states a team has five years to make the necessary moves to become competitive or the league office will take over to put that franchise on the right track? That's a total of 85 games, more than enough time to make progressive moves.

Call it punishment or legislation for not being competitive. If the players can be fined, suspended or released for not performing is it right that there is no way to show a team owner that this is unacceptable? Some may have to be forced into a position to be competitive.

The goal has to be a competitive brand of football by all 32 teams. The way it is constructed every team earns revenue, but with more competitive teams the league would make more money and us fans would be able to watch a better product on the field.