By Philip Robinson III | @chocP3thunder | 03/22/2017
CSN Bay Area broke the news locally recently departed running back Latavius Murray had just successfully undergone ankle surgery a week after signing his three-year $15 million dollar deal with the Minnesota Vikings.
“Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp.”
In the end, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie Mckenzie was right. The re-signing of Latavius Murray had been a real hot button issue. Did the numbers support a hefty raise? Or maybe Murray was an average back heavily benefiting from a superior offensive line. Whatever the case may have been Mckenzie chose not to re-sign Murray.
Nobody knows a free agent like his former team. The Raiders made a criticizable decision to allow a quality player get away. It seems to have been the right decision and they are now in the market for running back assistance.
Despite needing a bell cow back and Adrian Peterson being available, Mckenzie has rightfully stayed away. Peterson has not garnered any interest in free agency. He has not taken any visits nor has he been connected with any teams. At this point it is very shaky if Peterson will even be signed by training camp let alone at all, but he isn’t being asked to become a Raider.
Mckenzie has spent this year’s free agency moving in the shadows. Widely expected to be silent during free agency, Mckenzie has been opportune with his strikes. His preferred weapon of choice this offseason has been the “prove it deal.” None of the free agents brought in will have guaranteed money on next year’s cap. Instead the acquisition with the most name value, KR/WR Cordarrelle Patterson has a player option to terminate his deal after the 2017 season.
For selfish and highly irrational reasons I side with Raider Nation in the desire to pluck Beast Mode from the Seattle Seahawks. I hope that Mckenzie and former co-worker and Seahawks gm. John Schneider are able to get it done.
Much ado has been made about the failed 2013 draft class. First round draft pick D.J. Hayden never lived up to his draft status. As such his fifth-year option was not picked up and he was allowed to leave at the end of this season. Second round draft pick, right tackle Menelik Watson was oft injured and never able to consistently start. He recently signed a three-year $18 million deal with rival Denver Broncos. Despite being the best of the bunch sixth rounder Latavius Murray signed with the Vikings after making the Pro-bowl year before last and scoring 12 rushing Tds in 2016. The last holdover Mychal Rivera signed a two-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars today.
Truth be told letting go of every single one of them was also the right move. In four seasons the only player close to being difficult to replace will be Murray. Due to the team’s success each of these players exceeded Mckenzie’s estimation of their value and were allowed to be overpaid elsewhere. Mckenzie has countered by replacing nearly all of his outgoing free agents with cheaper and arguably better options.
Mckenzie knows what he’s doing. It seems redundant to keep saying, especially after achieving an Executive of the Year award. Keeping the fanbase and the world guessing the Raiders have changed the culture of the franchise from top to bottom. It’s been such a long time since it could be said honestly that the Raiders are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Mckenzie will be armed with eight draft picks in the 2017 draft. Judging from his more recent draft histories when it comes to building the Raiders in Reggie I trust.