The 2021 NFL offseason is now officially underway.
The Las Vegas Raiders front office is heavily putting in the work to improve the team that went 8-8 last season and was shy of reaching the postseason for the first time since 2016. Wednesday, General Manager Mike Mayock spoke with reporters about the team's approach to free agency, and how he and Head Coach Jon Gruden will target top-tier players. This will be the second offseason that Mayock and the Raiders will have to do things under COVID restrictions, which could possibly limit how effective they'll be.
Here are the best quotes from Mayock's Wednesday press conference:
On his ultimate goal from a personnel standpoint:
"We have to be smarter in free agency, better in free agency and we have to complement that with a really solid draft."
On the most appealing components the Raiders have for free agents:
"I get questions about Jon Gruden all the time by people all over the country. I think Jon has a special persona about him. I think Derek Carr has earned a lot of respect around this league from an awful lot of people. I think in this day and age where players spend more time from opposing teams through social media or wherever. Players are always hanging out, talking, sending messages back and forth. I think in this day and age, there's more of that than there ever was. In the old days, it used to be guys talking together at the Pro Bowl. Today, it's all day, every day, all 32 teams. The players interact all the time. I do think we have some guys that are highly respected throughout the league and I think that the fact that Jon Gruden is who he is, the city of Vegas is what it is, it's kind of an interesting recruiting tool for us."
On how aggressive the Raiders will be in free agency:
"I think we're going to be active, the question is, at what level? We've been active with players on day one and day two in the last couple years. I think there is going to be a lot of depth in the free agency market this particular year. I think there are going to be more veterans out there on the market and I think it's incumbent upon us to be patient. Would we take a shot at a high-level player or two? Sure, if we believed in the person and had the money available. But right now, I don't even know how much money we will or won't have available. That jigsaw puzzle is still taking place, but one way or another I think we'll be active in free agency."
On the Raiders extending contracts on current players:
"I think you can probably expect to see just about everything. When you're talking about a salary cap of plus or minus 180 million dollars, we talked about that a little bit before, so you potentially could be talking to players about restructuring their contracts. You could be talking about releasing players, you can be talking about trading players and the way I look at it is, it's kind of a big jigsaw puzzle and there's no one, finite answer but congruently you got to put it all together and make it make sense both economically and put the best and most competitive football team on the field. So, I think between now and March 17, yeah, you're going to see every team in the league making a lot of moves."
View the top 101 NFL free agents of 2021, according to NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal. (Last updated Monday, March 15)