Oakland Raiders: Free Agency Offering a Harsh Slice of Reality

Jeff Spiegel@jeffspiegelContributor IIMarch 14, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 30: Oakland Raiders fans dress up for the game against the San Diego Chargers on December 30, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

The first step in overcoming a problem is admitting you have one.

Well, as an Oakland Raiders fan, I'm finally ready to admit this team is knee-deep in rebuilding mode.

Just a couple of years removed from an 8-8 season that left the team just one win out of the playoffs, the Oakland Raiders have begun the 2013 free agency period with the sort of flop you expect from teams that don't believe in, "Just win baby."

Then again, it's not like there's anyone here to point fingers at other than the man famous for saying the phrase in the first place.

After years of handing out massive contracts to guys who were far from deserving, the Oakland Raiders and new general manager Reggie McKenzie are finally making the difficult—yet necessary—changes required to give this organization a real shot at competing.

The first step was cutting the dead weight, which took place earlier this week thanks to the release of Michael Huff and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Right alongside those transactions were the signings of Desmond Bryant and Phillip Wheeler—only those signings were taking place outside of the Bay Area.

And then, as the free agency period ceremonially opened, the Oakland Raiders did nothing but sit on their hands.

As the Broncos signed Wes Welker, the Chiefs signed Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson (in addition to the additions of Andy Reid and Alex Smith) and even the Chargers signed Derek Cox, the Oakland Raiders were forced to sit and watch.

I mean, sure, they signed Pat Sims, Jason Hunter and Kaluka Maiava, but does anyone really expect those three guys to make a huge difference on defense?

What makes things worse is that ESPN reported shortly after Sean Smith signed with the Chiefs that he actually chose Kansas City over Oakland.

Talk about a blow to the stomach.

So as the 2013 gets closer and closer to beginning, it's time for Oakland fans to wake up and realize what they're in for.

To those who were smart enough to realize this months ago, bravo.

And to those, who like me, were naive enough to believe this team had any interest in winning meaningful football games in the next two seasons, well, prepare yourselves.

Either way, lets make sure that the blame here goes to where it belongs. This mess has nothing to do with Reggie McKenzie, instead, he was brought in to clean up after it.

Unfortunately the clean-up process typically involves making some tough decisions, like the loss of Bey and Huff, but these days in Oakland, those decisions are more than necessary.

And even more unfortunately, now it's time for fans to start dealing with the consequences.