Originally published on SBReport.net on March 30, 2012
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie finished his busy Friday by adding another piece of need to the Raiders roster.
Linebacker Phillip Wheeler fills the Raiders void at strong-side linebacker (Photo rights to ESPN.com)After trading offensive lineman Bruce Campbell to the Carolina Panthers for running back Mike Goodson, reports emerged on Twitter that the Raiders have signed linebacker Philip Wheeler to a one-year contract.
Wheeler originally announced that he was on his way to Oakland for a visit on Thursday via his Twitter account, and the Raider Nation responded in full force trying to recruit him, which Wheeler quickly recognized:
Philip Wheeler @Philgood50
Dang Raider Nation ain't no joke. They deep. Lol
Philip Wheeler @Philgood50
I see that documentary they did on the Raiders fans was real.#RaiderNation seems strong.
Wheeler was drafted by out of the Georgia Tech in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. Wheeler has played in 61 games for the Colts, including 24 starts, and has recorded 220 tackles (141 solo), two sacks and two forced fumbles in his four years in the NFL with the Colts. Despite being a part of a porous Colts defense last season, Wheeler was considered one of the strong points as he recorded 84 tackles in 13 games played (11 started).
The signing of Wheeler fills a void at the strongside linebacker position that was left vacant with the departure of Kamerion Wimbley. While Wheeler is not considered as strong as a pass rusher, he does excel at stopping the run, something the Raiders have been needing for quite some time.
Filling the void allows McKenzie to fill depth at any position now that most needs have been filled. McKenzie will be able to go ahead and draft the best player on the board without being restricted due to roster needs.
“We’re excited to add another veteran to complement our talented linebacking group,” said Raiders General Manager Reggie McKenzie. “He gives us a lot of athleticism and versatility. He’s a player that can do a lot of things.
Terms of the deal have yet to be released, but it marks the third defensive player to sign a one-year contract with the Raiders who signed cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer to the same number of years.
Originally published on SacramentoPress.com on March 26, 2012
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie spoke to local media over a conference call following the league’s release of compensatory picks for the Raiders for the upcoming NFL Draft.
The NFL announced on Monday that the Raiders would receive compensatory picks in the 3rd, 4th and 5th rounds of April’s draft. The Raiders previously only held draft picks in the 5th and 6th round. Oakland’s first pick will now be the 95th overall selection, barring any trades.
McKenzie expressed his approval of his newly-received draft picks and the overall process during his conference call.
Whatever the formula is, I love this formula. I love it,” McKenzie said over the phone. “I thought I would possibly get a three for Nnamdi (Asomugha), and for the others, this was better than I expected. I’m extremely excited about the compensatory picks that the league has afforded the Raiders. Hopefully we can make do and have some good picks.”
The Raiders have been strapped for cash this offseason causing McKenzie to make some tough decisions that has involved the releasing of numerous starting players such as Stanford Routt and Kamerion Wimbley.
McKenzie originally mentioned “out-of-whack” contracts when he was introduced as the new Raiders general manager and has done his best to fix that problem with contract restructures and cutting of players whose contracts don’t match their productivity.
“When you talk about production versus a salary, in this business, the contract and the production go hand in hand,” McKenzie said. “If they are not matching or are kind of out of whack, you’re going to be forced to make a decision and that’s kind of what I was coming to.”
While he has had to work hard this offseason to get some extra cash, McKenzie looks at the process as a learning experience that will better his knowledge for the future.
“It’s not frustrating, it really isn’t. You always like to have a comfort level. Having cash under the cap, it gives you comfort. It’s teaching me how to handle money. This is good for me, learning on the fly how to deal with certain adverse situations. We’ve been able to handle it so far.”
The added draft picks gives McKenzie an additional chance to land some solid football players.
Previous 95th-overall draft picks include San Francisco 49er’s wide receiver Mario Manningham, New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and Raiders linebacker Darryl Blackstock who was on the roster last season but is currently an unrestricted free agent.