On March 10, NFL free agency will begin with a flurry of activity. In the AFC West, plenty of moves are expected for all four teams, with each having a litany of needs.
The Oakland Raiders are projected to be huge players in free agency, with only the Jacksonville Jaguars having more cap space. Oakland, with more than $55 million to spend, can outbid other franchises and likely will, according to ESPN insider Louis Riddick. Riddick, a former NFL executive with Washington and the Philadelphia Eagles, spoke via conference call on Thursday about Oakland and their situation.
"I think they have to spend because they it is required they do spend. They have a bunch of cap space sitting there and it has to be used. Unfortunately, they don't have the homegrown players to put it into. So where do you put it? You put it into guys on the outside because the team has been built all wrong. Their hand has been kind of forced. ... They are a victim of circumstance. I expect them to be big players and big bidders in free agency."
Riddick then transitioned to the Denver Broncos, who made news by getting Peyton Manning to accept a $4 million pay cut on Wednesday. However, Riddick does not believe the move will change John Elway's plans when the market opens.
"To me, it sounds like it is more of a cash flow type deal then trying to free up cap space to go and target a specific player. They are going to need the $13 million in cap space for the Demaryius Thomas franchise tag and there are some free agents they will need to tender before the new league year starts to eat up some of that cap space. ...I don't think it is a deal where they are targeting a certain guy or it was done with a specific guy in mind. I think it was getting their books in order."
Soon enough, we will find out everybody's plans for better or worse.