When Stefen Wisniewski was drafted by Al Davis in 2011, he probably expected to earn big money. He earned just over $4 million on his rookie deal, and is looking to cash in as a free agent.
But general manager Reggie McKenzie says he isn’t willing to pay him more than the team believes he’s worth:
“It’s going to be case-by-case. Nobody is going to make me push the panic button to overvalue a player. That’s when you get into trouble. You have to figure out… it doesn’t matter who you lose, you have to figure out a replacement. … You want to keep all your players, but you want to keep them for the right price. This year we have a lot of cap money to do some things. We’ll try to get better at every position. We’re not just pinpointing one or two spots. We need to upgrade every position; that’s the way we feel.”
Wisniewski was graded by Pro Football Focus as an average center — 16th in the league, which puts his expected salary right around $3 million per season, the average for the position, even though starting centers don’t grow on trees.
Wisniewski has vocalized his desire to be paid like a top center, and it would appear he is holding true to his wishes.
McKenzie lost Oakland’s starting left tackle, Jared Veldheer, to free agency last year, and it seems as though he may lose Wisniewski also. Unless, that is, Wisniewski is willing to be flexible, possibly taking an objective look at what he’s truly worth.
Jason Leskiw is SFBay’s Oakland Raiders beat writer and member of the Professional Football Writers of America. Follow @SFBay and @LeskiwSFBay on Twitter and at SFBay.ca for full coverage of the Oakland Raiders.