In the first few days of NFL free agency, the Bay Area is experiencing a split personality. – 49ers fans: Smug. Content. Waiting patiently for their team to make a smart move or two. With a roster that has only a few obvious holes – kicker, backup quarterback, secondary – and a ridiculous number of draft picks, the balance sheet is in the 49ers’ favor. Lots of talent. Lots of options. – Raiders fans: Full-fledged panic. Realizing that their team needs pretty much everything and lacks the resources to get it. Little talent. Fewer options. If there was deep skepticism last season about the new direction of the Raiders, it has only amplified since. General manager Reggie McKenzie seems intent on tearing the team down to the studs, ripping up the floorboards and punching out any remaining sheetrock. Fans are wondering: After a four-win season, are the Raiders intent on getting even worse? This week the Raiders released Darrius Heyward-Bey and Michael Huff. Richard Seymour is gone. Expect Tommy Kelly and Rolando McClain to be gone soon. McKenzie couldn’t distance himself further from the legacy of Al Davis if he changed the team colors to magenta and mauve and replaced the eye patch with hipster black frame glasses. McKenzie doesn’t want Davis’ kind of players. The problem is, he needs some kind of players. It’s a good thing that the Raiders planned to tarp off Mount Davis next season, because there’s clearly not going to be much to draw fans. But who knew they were planning to tarp off a huge section of the roster as well? This week the Raiders let some big names go and signed three second-tier free agents: Browns linebacker Kaluka Maiava, Bengals defensive tackle Pat Sims and Broncos defensive end Jason Hunter. Those signings – a far cry from the blockbuster free-agent moves the fans became accustomed to when Davis was in charge – bring the number of penciled-in starters on defense to six. The three holdovers from last year are Tyvon Branch, Lamarr Houston and Miles Burris. In case you’ve forgotten in the month since the NFL season ended, it is customary to play with 11 defenders.
Raiders fans have little to cheer for
San Francisco Chronicle | Mar 15