Within the first hours of 2014 free agency, the Oakland Raiders let their potential franchise left tackle walk and replaced him with a flamed out-former second rounder who is most effective as a guard. The Raiders signed former St. Louis Ram to a five year, $42.5 million deal with $21 million guaranteed.
For a player who has not lived up to the hype in St. Louis, it’s simply a perplexing move for Reggie Mckenzie. Former Raider Jered Veldheer signed with Arizona for $7 million less, so obviously the Raiders front office doesn’t see value in Veldheer, even though he is one of the most promising pass blocking tackles in the game.
For Saffold, it appears the Raiders grossly overpaid for the services for a player who played predominantly right tackle and right guard his final year in St. Louis. At guard, he did very well, as you can see here where he dominates interior linemen.
Saffold never did well as a left tackle, so much that the Rams went out and got Jake Long. When Jake Long tore his ACL in week 15, Saffold stepped in on the blindside, as you see here, Saffold completely whiffed on the block of Adrian Clayborn, and forced Kellen Clemens to throw under pressure. The pass was complete, but it still was not a pretty sight.
Saffold has also missed 20 total games and hasn’t played a full 16-game season since his rookie year. However, if Saffold is injured, it could let Oakland see what they have in second year OT Menelik Watson.
If Saffold lives up to his bust status and/or is injured too much, his tenure in the Bay Area could be really short, which would leave another contract with dead money on Oakland’s payroll. Did Al Davis’ ghost posess Reggie McKenzie?
Oakland may not be the prime opportunity for free agents, but it appears that McKenzie and company are going to be overpaying for every free agent that they want.