When Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie walked into the organization 14 months ago, he observed quite the royal mess and immediately picked up a broom.
After using it for a year to push the clutter about the room, while clearing out some of the musty old air, McKenzie on Tuesday kicked open the door and smartly, emphatically used it to sweep out the old.
While so many other teams spent the first day of the NFL's free-agent season stuffing money into the holes in their rosters, McKenzie and the Raiders made a powerful move to separate their unformed present from their underachieving past.
By releasing veteran safety Michael Huff and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the Raiders shed two of the remaining four projected foundation players left over from the failed roster reconstruction of late former owner Al Davis.
As collegiate talents drafted with the seventh overall pick, Huff (2006) and Heyward-Bey (2009) were expected to provide a significant portion of the Raiders' future nucleus. Huff become a good player but never met anticipated standards. Heyward-Bey is an unpolished pass catcher who improved but showed no sign of becoming the star implied by his draft status.
Both failed, as did the team around them, justifying McKenzie's decision to make a relatively bold move that, as suggested in recent conversations with the G.M., won't be the last this offseason.