The Raiders have an important offseason ahead of them, as general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen try to turn the franchise around. Here are some notes from Oakland:
- Allen identified running back Rashad Jennings as an important piece for the Raiders to re-sign this offseason, while failing to mention fellow ball-carrier Darren McFadden, also a free agent, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. McFadden struggled with in 2013 not only with his usual array of injuries, but with ineffectiveness. Jennings picked up the slack on his way to rushing for 733 yards and six touchdowns. We learned this morning that McFadden’s representatives will speak with Raiders management at the combine on Saturday.
- In addition to Jennings, defensive end Lamarr Houston and offensive tackle Jared Veldheer are offseason priorities, writes Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. Allen noted that the trio’s mindset will be key during negotiations. “They want to be here, and we want them here,” said the Raiders coach. “And I think when you add those two elements together, usually you’re able to get something done.”
- In a separate piece, Bair reports the Raiders are leaning towards taking a quarterback with the fifth overall selection in the draft. Allen did note that the Raiders won’t pick a signal caller just for the sake of doing so, saying that “when you try to force a quarterback, it really sets your franchise back.” But if a QB the team likes is available at No. 5, will the Raiders take him? “Oh, sure, yeah. If they’re at the same page, if we were drafting tomorrow, probably,” said Allen, which is about as much “certainty” as a coach will offer at draft time.
- Continuing on the quarterback theme, Allen said former Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel will be a “fun guy to…evaluate,” according to Paul Sheridan of ESPN.com.