OAKLAND (AP) — Despite missing out on some of the biggest names on the open market like Ndamukong Suh and DeMarco Murray, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie is happy with how the first week of free agency went.
McKenzie was able to spend his ample salary cap room to add several starters that he expects will help the team improve on a three-win season and add to a core led by quarterback Derek Carr and Khalil Mack.
"Every year you go after a lot of guys. You're not going to get them all," McKenzie said Saturday night. "Our intent was to go out hard and heavy after each one of these guys and we were able to land a whole lot of guys that we liked. We feel really good about the players we added to our roster."
The Raiders signed at least four projected starters in center Rodney Hudson, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton, defensive tackle Dan Williams and safety Nate Allen this week. Oakland also added depth in linebacker Malcolm Smith, the 2014 Super Bowl MVP, versatile running back Roy Helu and blocking tight end Lee Smith.
McKenzie acknowledged that the team had interest in Suh before he signed with Miami but safety Charles Woodson said the disappointment on missing out on him is tempered by that fact that the Raiders added so many players who can contribute.
"There's no question that Suh would have been huge," Woodson said. "He would have been a great addition to the team. But at the same time, if you don't get a Suh, you can get three or four other players to make up for it. What that does, is that builds depth."
McKenzie also said Saturday there is one talented player he won't look to add as free agency progresses. McKenzie said Oakland has intentions to sign troubled defensive end Greg Hardy. Hardy remains on the commissioner's exempt list and is still subject to suspension for his role in a domestic violence case.
Hardy was convicted of assault on a female and communicating threats last summer, but charges were dismissed Feb. 9 during an appeal trial when his accuser couldn't be located to testify. Prosecutors say Hardy reached a civil suit agreement with the accuser.
"At this point, we don't have any intentions of doing anything with him," McKenzie said. "His situation is a delicate one. It's ongoing with the league also."
One common theme with all of Oakland's additions so far in free agency is the players are much younger than last year's group. Oakland targeted veterans a year ago who were on the downside of their careers in an effort to add more leaders.
While Justin Tuck, Antonio Smith and Donald Penn made strong contributions last season, others like Maurice Jones-Drew, LaMarr Woodley, Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers were less successful and are no longer in Oakland.
This year's additions so far are players in mostly on the upside of their careers.
"We wanted to get some guys in their prime and give us a few years," McKenzie said. "We feel like with the leadership we have now, we can just add to the roster to get better."
McKenzie said he would still like to add playmakers for Carr on offense, most notably at receiver in the next few weeks. Oakland also has the fourth overall pick next month in a draft that has several elite receivers.
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