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Raiders GM McKenzie: Offseason a little bit better than expected

  • By NFL.com
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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.

“A 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,” McKenzie told the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. “We 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.”


The NFL free agency cycle is in full effect, with teams and players agreeing to terms fast as training camps open. Get the latest on all the news right here.

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).

In addition to the offensive line, McKenzie said he was pleased the Raiders got "two guys that we like" in cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer.

“With our cap situation, we were able to kind of solidify that position a little bit,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie acknowledged that the Raiders had no chance at retaining running back Michael Bush, who signed a four-year, $14 million contract with the Chicago Bears on Thursday.

“We couldn’t do that,” McKenzie said. “That’s more than what we could do. That’s the way it goes. This year, that’s what we’re up against. But we knew that.”

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.

“If we kept Wimbley we wouldn’t 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 couldn’t work out. But we would have liked to have had him, but the way the contract was at the time, we just couldn’t make it work.”

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