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McKenzie starts to whack “out of whack” contracts

Raiders' general manager McKenzie speaks about new head coach Allen during a news conference at the Raiders' training facility in Oakland

Raiders’ general manager Reggie McKenzie (L) speaks about new head coach Dennis Allen (R) during a news conference at the Raiders’ training facility in Oakland, California January 30, 2012. REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL BUSINESS)


The most telling words new Raiders G.M. Reggie McKenzie has spoken since taking over his new job came at the introduction of new coach Dennis Allen.

“From where we are, we’ve got some contracts that are kind of out of whack,” McKenzie said via “But in my discussions and viewing the cap situation, we should be fine.”

Out of whack contracts were a tradition in the late Al Davis years. With the release of Stanford Routt on Thursday, McKenzie began to whack them down to size.

Davis had players that became known as “scholarship” guys. These were Raiders that Davis drafted, developed, and paid too much. Routt wasn’t a terrible player -- although he was pretty bad in 2011 -- but he was a perfect example of this phenomenon.

McKenzie cut Routt this early because his contract forced an early decision. Other overpaid players figure to be released closer to the start of free agency.

Other candidates to be released: Aaron Curry ($5.76 million), John Henderson ($4 million), Michael Huff ($8 million), and Tommy Kelly ($6 million). Even players like Kamerion Wimbley could be up for debate.

We’ve seen mixed reaction from Raiders fans on the Routt decision, but it’s a great move. It’s a sign that fiscal sanity has returned to the organization.

The process of correcting old mistakes may be painful in the short term, but the Raiders now have a leader able to think about the best interests of the organization long-term.