Nearly three months into the job as the Oakland Raiders' general manager, Reggie McKenzie is feeling good about what he's accomplished so far in his first offseason.
âA little bit better (than expected), because we were able to knock out a couple of areas (in free agency) we felt we wanted to upgrade, and fill in or solidify,â McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. âWe felt like the O-line, as a group, we solidified it big time by getting the two veterans back (Cooper Carlisle and Khalif Barnes), and the coaching staff would like to see (Stefan Wisniewski) move inside, see what he can do. They feel pretty good about that.â
McKenzie, who was the Green Bay Packers' director of player personnel before the Raiders hired him January 5, has been busy this offseason. He fired Hue Jackson and hired Dennis Allen as the team's new head coach. And the Raiders have been quiet players in free agency out of necessity.
Because of a multitude of trades made before McKenzie's arrival, Oakland, which went 8-8 last season, owns just a fifth- and sixth-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft (though they're expected to receive compensatory picks).
âWith our cap situation, we were able to kind of solidify that position a little bit,â McKenzie said.
âWe couldnât do that,â McKenzie said. âThatâs more than what we could do. Thatâs the way it goes. This year, thatâs what weâre up against. But we knew that.â
McKenzie also said the team couldn't afford linebacker Kamerion Wimbley, who left Oakland to take a multiyear deal with the Tennessee Titans this week. But, McKenzie added, some good has come out of it.
âIf we kept Wimbley we wouldnât have been able to sign any of the players I wanted. ..." McKenzie said. "He wanted what he wanted, and we needed what we needed, and it couldnât work out. But we would have liked to have had him, but the way the contract was at the time, we just couldnât make it work.â