SAN JOSE -- For a guy who has been described as deliberate, methodical and measured, it's been a whirlwind nine-day period for Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie.
The Raiders officially signed tackle Donald Penn on Wednesday, the eighth player brought from outside the organization since free agency began March 11.
Also, ESPN reported veteran safety Charles Woodson has agreed to a one-year deal to stay with the team. The 16-year veteran played all but seven defensive snaps for the Raiders in 2013 and finished with 97 tackles. Woodson becomes the fourth unrestricted free agent to return to the Raiders, joining offensive lineman Khalif Barnes, running back Darren McFadden and safety Usama Young.
The period started with embarrassing national headlines when tackle Rodger Saffold flunked his physical on a potential $42.5 million deal and then returned to the St. Louis Rams while at the same time Jared Veldheer was signing with the Arizona Cardinals.
In between, the Raiders have begun rebuilding both lines with Penn, tackle Austin Howard and guard-center Kevin Boothe on offense and ends Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley and tackle Antonio Smith on defense.
Also acquired were wide receiver James Jones and cornerback Tarell Brown, who are likely instant starters.
"What we're trying to do is add some veteran leadership," McKenzie told this newspaper Wednesday at San Jose State's pro day. "The bottom line is trying to upgrade the team through production and leadership. We've got some young guys, and we want to try and get that good mix, try to build.''
While conceding the only way to truly assess free agency is with wins and losses at the end of the season, McKenzie believes the Raiders have a good "head start" on the process of trying to turn around a 4-12 team.
"If you have an opportunity to get a guy, go after him, and hopefully you can land some of them," McKenzie said.
In his first interview since free agency began, McKenzie shrugged off losing Saffold and denied a report that owner Mark Davis nixed the deal as well as speculation that a case of "buyer's remorse" caused the Raiders to back out.
McKenzie said failed physicals are relatively commonplace, and it's not unusual for a team to pass a player that another team might fail because they're more familiar with both the player and injury history.
"There's a good reason I don't spend a whole lot of time -- no disrespect -- reading a whole lot (about the Raiders)," McKenzie said. "We listen to our medical people, and a risk is a risk. That's what we go with. We make our decision that way."
The departures of Veldheer and defensive end Lamarr Houston (who signed with the Chicago Bears) have refueled talk that McKenzie prefers "his guys'' rather than those who were drafted in the previous regime by Al Davis.
"That has zero to do with it," McKenzie said. "I don't care who drafts them. All that matters is their production on the field. Those two guys, they were good, solid players for us. That's why we wanted them to stay. But they got their opportunity and they took it."
McKenzie ruled out using the franchise tag on either player because "I didn't want to rent 'em for a year. That's not the way we do it. ... If they don't want to be here, it's time to move on."
The Raiders still have around $30 million in room under the salary cap and a glaring need at quarterback, with Michael Vick still on the market and talk that the Raiders are interested in Houston quarterback Matt Schaub should he be released or possibly through trade.
McKenzie watched San Jose State quarterback David Fales on Wednesday and will travel to Fresno to see Fresno State's Derek Carr. Coach Dennis Allen, meanwhile, is on a tour during which he saw Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, Blake Bortles at Central Florida and will next take him to Texas A&M to see Johnny Manziel.
Asked directly if he knew the identity of the 2014 starter at quarterback for the Raiders, McKenzie laughed.
"I have a really good idea. Do you want me to tell you?" McKenzie said.
McKenzie, of course, did not tell.
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