With his back pressed firmly against the wall, Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie opted against maintaining control of his most valuable offensive and defensive assets Monday.

Neither left tackle Jared Veldheer nor defensive lineman Lamarr Houston drew the Raiders' franchise or transition tag.

McKenzie still has until March 8 to negotiate exclusively with both players, which might help to explain the lack of urgency on Monday.

A source informed of the Raiders' thinking told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport there was no communication with Veldheer leading up to the 4 p.m. ET deadline for franchise tags.

Had this been a talent-rich organization strapped for salary cap space, the inaction would be understandable.

As it is, though, McKenzie has a league-high $65 million to spend and a clear mandate from his owner to start winning and stop making excuses.

Just entering their primes and still improving, Veldheer and Houston sit firmly inside the top 10 on Around The League's list of the best 101 free agents this season. McKenzie needs to acquire more players of their ilk rather than setting them free to the highest bidder.