LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Later this month the new NFL season begins and all the trades and free-agent signings become official. March 17th is the key date this season, 1 p.m. PST is when all the fun begins (why not do it on St. Patrick’s Day?).
The Raiders gave up more points per game than any other team in the NFL (30) so certainly improving the defense for the Silver and Black will be the priority. Raiders GM Mike Mayock told the the media today that two factors will help the Raiders in their search this year.
Today, it’s all day, every day, all 32 teams. The players interact all the time. I do think we have some guys that are highly respected throughout the league and I think that the fact that Jon Gruden is who he is, the city of Vegas is what it is, it’s kind of an interesting recruiting tool for us.”
The issue involving all NFL teams is the salary cap which was also addressed by Mayock.
“I want us to be really solid. I want us to make good decisions both in free agency and the draft. The free agency thing is different this year and you guys talk about the salary cap all the time, I’m sure. If you go back two years and say where was the cap going to be this coming season, the answer would have been plus or minus 225 million dollars. We’re looking at 180 today.”
The NFL Draft is April 29-May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio and Mayock know a good draft will be essential for the Raiders, especially when trying to improve the defense for the Silver and Black.
“If you use some common sense and you have an offensive player and a defensive player that are graded approximately in that same range and maybe that defensive player fits a need, well let’s go get him. The flip side of that is, if you’re on the board in the third or fourth round or wherever and there’s an offensive player that’s sticking out like a sore thumb because his grade is significantly higher than any of the defensive needs, I think you dilute the overall talent of your team if you don’t take that offensive player.”
Mayock said the Raiders are hoping to sign standout wide receiver Nelson Agholor, who is a free-agent this year and they are firm in their commitment to quarterback Derek Carr.
“I think Derek Carr had his best year yet under Jon Gruden. I think he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and we couldn’t be happier with him.”