The Raiders are back!
OK, OK, so that may be jumping the gun a bit. But their best two players are coming back, and that is big news for the silver and black. Few people expected them to be able to retain both Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler. But the Raiders paid up and have retained the services of arguably their two best players (even if one of them is a punter).
Yes, the contracts are pricey. And yes, the Raiders got into trouble by overpaying for several free agents last season like DeAngelo Hall and Javon Walker.
However, these signings are different. For starters, both Asomugha and Lechler are fresh off Pro Bowl seasons and are in line to have many more. Secondly, they don’t have questionable pasts the way last year’s crop of signees did. Walker was coming off an injury and Hall had a messy divorce with the Falcons organization. Tommy Kelly, the big Raider re-signee of last year was also coming off an injury.
Lechler and Asomugha are healthy and, by all accounts, happy to be in Oakland. After all, one of them was guaranteed to have the opportunity to leave via free agency because the Raiders could only franchise one of them. Instead, they both signed to stay on board with the team despite their struggles.
In addition to the obvious on-field benefits of retaining Asomugha and Lechler, these signings give the Raiders franchise a much needed morale boost. Their decision to stay put shows the league it’s OK to be a Raider and maybe, just maybe, the franchise isn’t quite as dysfunctional as they’ve been the past six years.
For head coach Tom Cable, this is also a vote of confidence that his players see something in what he’s bringing to the table.
And yes, again, it doesn’t hurt that Al Davis shelled out major cash. So, as someone who’s blasted him in the past, kudos for getting these deals done. The next step is bolstering the offensive line and receiving corps.
The fact that the organization is finally making right steps to encourage next steps is the key. Let’s hope the trend continues.
LINK: In other AFC West news, my ‘You pick it’ response was published again on Bill Williamson’s blog on ESPN.com.
In this week’s ‘You pick it’ response, I essentially used the body of this post. Check it out here where, at three paragraphs, it stands out from the crowd.
For more information, visit MattHubert.com.