Peter King Dishes On Oakland Raiders in SI

Today, Peter King released an article on Sports Illustrated's website wherein he touches on the state of the Raiders and the job Reggie McKenzie is doing running the team. He states:

The Raiders are actually doing things right, and Reggie McKenzie's the reason why.

King's article is, unlike so many journalists' articles on the Raiders before this year, fairly glowing and optimistic. He expresses belief that Reggie can turn the Raiders from a cash-strapped, draft-choice-bereft team into a contender. He details the Raiders' signings this offseason, all of which filled a major area of need (cornerbacks, linebacker, guard).

Read more after the jump.

However, King was derisive toward the trade that brought Taiwan Jones and Joseph Barksdale to Oakland, because neither turned into starters. At best that is unfair and at worst it is disingenuous. Jones suffered an injury during the season, or else he would have split time with Mike Bush after McFadden's injury. Barksdale was blocked by two veteran starters on the right side in Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes. Both are back this season at reduced cost (although with Carlisle moving to left guard), and unless Barksdale performs so well that he supplants one of them as a starter, he won't get the majority of the playing time. I expect, however, that he will be an important part of the OL rotation for most if not all of the season.

King is right to show faith in McKenzie. I was fairly mortified going into the offseason, because I knew that the Raiders had little money and the talented free agents they did have would likely sign with other teams. We saw this with Trevor Scott, Michael Bush, Samson Satele, Jason Campbell, and others. Even though my fears were proven true, McKenzie cut many of the more under-performing and in some cases overpaid players including Stanford Routt, Kevin Boss, Chris Johnson, and Hiram Eugene. This enabled McKenzie to target the players he wanted and actually have the cap space to sign them.

Al Davis had a reputation as a salary-cap wizard, restructuring contracts and crunching numbers to get his team under the cap each year. But let's not forget that Al was the one giving out the ridiculous contracts in the first place, requiring him to have to jump through hoops to keep the team under the cap every year. DeAngelo Hall, Gibril Wilson, Tommy Kelly, Javon Walker, and Larry Brown are just a few of the most egregious contracts given out by Davis. McKenzie's actions so far give me a great deal of hope that those sort of irresponsible deals will not be given out by this team again anytime soon.

Peter King understands in his article how dire the Raiders' situation was and how little they will be able to improve it in this draft. However, he also knows that Reggie McKenzie is the man to lead the Raiders out of the abyss and back to the top of the league.

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