Raiders managing general partner Al Davis doesn't do losing well. He admits losses stick with him for a long time.
He prides himself on doing whatever it takes to ensure his coach gets the kind of players deemed necessary to compete for a Super Bowl, with no exceptions.
So, imagine Davis' consternation when he reflected upon the free agents the Raiders signed last offseason and discovered how few panned out.
"We did not do well in free agency, no," Davis said earlier this month.
And that doesn't even take into account the midseason release of DeAngelo Hall, a cornerback the Raiders acquired in a trade from the Atlanta Falcons for second- and fifth-round draft picks. Or the disappointing play of defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, whom the Raiders re-signed to a monster contract.
The fallout of the free-agent whiffs came in the release of strong safety Gibril Wilson, offensive tackle Kwame Harris and defensive end Kalimba Edwards within the past week.
There's also the matter of the free agents the Raiders signed and envisioned as their starting wide receivers.
Javon Walker earned $12 million last season. In return, the Raiders received eight games, 15 catches for 196 yards and one touchdown. Carter sustained a season-ending knee injury before the regular season started.
Carter is back on the market. Walker remains on the roster, if only because of a prohibitive salary-cap number that makes it almost as expensive to cut him as to keep him around for one more season.
The Raiders also released veteran receiver Ronald Curry and fullback Justin Griffith within the past week. The five moves saved the Raiders $14.5 million against the 2009 salary cap.
Jettisoning players who started games last season helped the Raiders free up the necessary room to accommodate their re-signing cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Chris Johnson and punter Shane Lechler.
So it is that the Raiders stand on the verge of free agency shaken from last year's results but undeterred from making another foray this year.
"You always learn by experience, but I don't believe in consistency," Davis said. "I don't believe that you (change) because you failed one year, that you can't succeed in the next year."
No more moves are required for the Raiders to slide under the projected $123 million cap by today's 9 p.m. deadline.
Re-signing Asomugha, Johnson and Lechler satisfied the primary objective of coach Tom Cable. Now his focus shifts toward making qualifying offers to some of his restricted free agents — players with no more than three years' NFL experience — by today's deadline. Long-snapper Jon Condo and linebackers Ricky Brown and Jon Alston are the main targets.
Finding a replacement for Harris, re-signing Jake Grove and perhaps adding a proven receiver, an outside linebacker and one or more safeties are needs that likely will be explored in free agency.
This represents Cable's first time spearheading the operation, so he plans to lean on Davis for guidance. If nothing else, Davis will impart upon Cable that there aren't any guarantees in free agency.
"It's a tough year for me because we didn't do well in free agency," Davis said. "But I'd rather be right than be consistent. So, we'll see what happens."
Contact Steve Corkran at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Raiders have re-signed three of their players headed toward free agency. However, they still have 24 prospective restricted and unrestricted free agents. Here's a position-by-position look at the Raiders slated to become free agents at 9 p.m. today unless they are re-signed (NFL years experience in parentheses):
QB -- Marques Tuiasosopo (8)
FB -- Justin Griffith (6)
WR -- Drew Carter (5), Ashley Lelie (7), Ronald Curry (7)
TE -- Tony Stewart (8)
T -- Kwame Harris (5)
G -- Cooper Carlisle (9)
C -- Jake Grove (5)
DE -- Kalimba Edwards (7)
DT -- William Joseph (6)
LB -- Sam Williams (6); Isaiah Ekejiuba (4)
DB -- Rashad Baker (5); Gibril Wilson (5)
QB -- Jeff Otis (1)
WR -- Todd Watkins (2)
T-- James Marten (2)
OL -- Mark Wilson (3)
C -- Chris Morris (3)
LB -- Jon Alston (3), Ricky Brown (3)
LS -- Jon Condo (2)
FS -- Hiram Eugene (3)