TO: Reggie McKenzie, general manager, Oakland Raiders
FROM: Grant Cohn
Reggie, as a favor, I want to help you rebuild the Raiders' roster.
First, let me commend the job you've done the past two years tearing down Al Davis' and Hugh Jackson's expensive mess. You've made the roster cheap and practically talentless – a blank slate.
Now, you have a high draft pick and more than $63 million in cap space. It's time to start rebuilding, but you haven't shown the ability to do that yet. So, I've put together some ideas and, if you like them, take them and call them your own. This is between you and me.
Before you go hog wild adding players, you need to fire your head coach, Dennis Allen. Your team isn't improving under him. He's a bad head coach, a defensive X's and O's guy, a conceptual guy, not a teacher or a leader. You're going to get your franchise quarterback this offseason and you can't have Allen around to stunt his growth. You need to replace Allen, preferably with a coach who has a background in offense and experience developing young quarterbacks.
You also have to determine what style of offense and defense your new coaching staff wants to run. There is no sense adding players who don't fit your new coordinators' systems.
Next, you must understand this is a two-year rebuild, at least. You're miles behind every other team in your division – the Broncos and Chiefs are for-sure playoff teams and the Chargers might make the playoffs, too. Adding one franchise player will not propel the Raiders into the playoffs next season.
You need at least two offensive linemen, a tight end, a running back, a quarterback (obviously), at least one wide receiver, two cornerbacks, a safety, two linebackers and two or three defensive linemen. You should have traded Darren McFadden earlier this year, but you didn't. You will get nothing for him when he leaves in free agency.