This off season there was a youth movement in Oakland. I’m not talking about the Oakland A’s, I’m talking about the other team that plays in the Coliseum — the Raiders. Over the Al Davis era the Raiders have tried to find that magical second wind in veteran players. Davis would combine these players with young talent to create a balance. This has worked multiple times with players like Jim Plunkett, Rich Gannon, Bill Romanowski, and Jerry Rice just to name a few. These players were on their last stop and considered past their prime in Oakland before playing some of the best football of their careers. They helped the Raider win a couple championships and become a top caliber team.
This tradition has continued up to the 2014 free agent signings. By doing this they usually are one of the oldest teams in the league. The average age of the 2014 free agent signings was 30 years old. Trying to bring veterans like Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, and Matt Schaub, the Raiders tried to find that Al Davis veteran magic. Unfortunately that magic has been hard to find with Schaub only throwing 57 yards and 2 interceptions and Woodley only playing five games. This list could be much longer with many of the older free agents not producing much over the last season.
This off season the theme changed, with the type and age of player they are signing veering younger. So far, the average age of the 2015 free agent class is 26. This is a change for the Raiders. They are looking for players that are younger and either in their prime or have more years to improve. The players have more of an upside. This shows they are thinking about the future. The offer to Sean Richardson (25) this week shows the commitment to youth. They may have not gotten the homerun free agents like Randall Cobb or Ndamukong Suh but they are bringing in a solid group of young players to surround Derek Carr and Khalil Mack. They are creating a young talented base.
This offseason is hopefully showing a change in how the Raiders look for talent. Trying to find veterans and getting a magical season or two from them hasn’t worked for a few years. With the new free agent class being four years younger, the Raiders are showing a commitment to the future. With this formula, the Raiders having a talented young base and surrounding that base with older veterans that might find that magical second wind.