Spring Cleaning Begins In Oakland, Raiders GM McKenzie Just Getting Warmed Up
Tuesday afternoon Raider Nation was hit with some surprising news the Oakland Raiders cut ties with former first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey, along with defensive back Michael Huff and defensive end David Tollefson, on Tuesday.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie walked into a messy situation over a year ago and instantly swept his broom.
After using it for a year to push the clutter about the room, while clearing out some of the musty old air, McKenzie on Tuesday kicked open the door and smartly, emphatically used it to sweep out the old.
While other NFL teams were on a spending spree the first day of the free agent season filling in their holes on their roster.
McKenzie and the Raiders made a commanding move to separate their shapeless present from their underperforming past.
By releasing veteran safety Huff and wide receiver Heyward-Bey, the Raiders shed two of the remaining four projected foundation players left over from the failed roster reconstruction of late former owner Al Davis.
The Raiders selected Heyward-Bey out of Maryland with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Heyward-Bey never coasted into a star with first round status talent written on him as the Raiders would have hoped. Over 15 games last season, Heyward-Bey caught 41 passes for 606 yards and a career-high five touchdowns.
But for Huff it was a little more of a surprise as the safety was asked to move to corner last season because the team was short of talent in corners. Huff, who was also selected seventh overall by Silver and Black in the 2006 NFL Draft, had 56 tackles and two interceptions over 16 games last season. His best season came in 2010 when he tallied 94 tackles and three interceptions.
Other Raider free agents by days-end found themselves away from the Bay as the Browns signed defensive tackle Desmond Bryant, formerly of the Raiders, for a five-year, $34 million contract. While the Dolphins signed linebacker Phillip Wheeler for a deal is worth $26 million over five years, with $13 million guaranteed.
Only good news for the Raiders is they were freed up cap space and are now $15.3 million under the cap. As they were also able to retain cornerback Phillip Adams in the process.
In the next couple a days expect Reggie to continue his spring cleaning…