If you are a diehard Raiders fan, you feel joy when your team wins and grief during losses. That emotion does not stop when the season does.
RaiderNation is infamous for their emotions. There were some reasons to be glee, including Gruden returning if you are a Gruden fan, but there are also plenty of reasons to be pissed this offseason. Here are five issues that I am still cooling down from.
1) Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack is not in camp because he is negotiating a new contract. This is not Mack’s fault. He has been one of the best edge players in the game despite the lack of talent around him. Mack affects both the run and passing game at an elite level. He deserves whatever check he wants. So why doesn’t Mack have a long-term deal?
What are the Raiders waiting for? Aaron Donald is another DPOY award winner from the same draft class. He is also holding out for an extension. Oakland cannot wait for Donald to set the market because Mack will only ask for more. It is not that hard to just pay this man.
Added, Oakland is in an offseason of transition. They have a new staff and large roster turnover. Mack needs to be there to build leadership and camaraderie with his teammates. I am not worried about his work ethic or play shape because he is a dedicated player. However, having Mack in OTAs and camp can only help the team develop some synergy and momentum. Moreover, it is one less thing Raiders fans and I have to be pissed off about.
2) The amount of question marks in the draft class
In a key draft under a new coach, the Raiders needed to add talent in this draft. They needed to add some players who can contribute day one. The closest to sure things the Raiders found in this draft is Arden Key (3rd round) and Mo Hurst (5th round). Except Hurst got a heart issue that might or might not be a problem depending on whom you believe. Key has his own off-field and motivation questions too. Sounds like a lot of adversity to overcome your rookie season.
Otherwise, the Raiders got two tackles that look the part but are at least a season away from making serious contributions. Kolton Miller (1st round) has questions about his toughness and Brandon Parker (3rd round) has questions about the competition he played. Second round pick PJ Hall also has variables considering the level of competition he played in college too. The developmental projects continue through the draft. Nick Nelson, Azeri Victor, and Marcell Ateman have their own questions, which lead them to fall in the draft.
Ultimately, you can split hairs and drive yourself mad looking at who the Raiders could have drafted. Either way, it looks like the Raiders might not have a single rookie make major contributions this year. It is incredibly annoying considering the Raiders needed playmakers at various positions. They might still develop those playmakers and turn these question marks into gold. Unfortunately, it is just not fast enough for me. In the meantime, I get to be pissed.
3) The Players they kept
Why is Jared Cook on this roster? No disrespect to Cook, he’s still a starting TE and he was one of Carr’s favorite targets last season. Nonetheless, Oakland signed Lee Smith and Derek Carrier for reserved roles and cut Clive Walford. Walford being cut is not that surprising. The bigger surprise is that the Raiders are going to pay Cook $6 to be a situational pass catcher when they could have cut his contract without any dead money.
The same goes for Marshawn Lynch. I will not debate that Lynch was not used properly or his significance to the Bay. However, if the Raiders truly cleaned house, Lynch would be the first to go. I am sure restructuring his contract helped but I am still surprised he is on the roster.
Then, there is Reggie Nelson, a source of my anger. I gave him a pass because JDR drafted him. Now, I am supposed to give him a pass because Paul Guenther was his DC in Cincinnati? The point is, Reggie Nelson did not do much to secure his roster spot. He was above average in 2016 but it was clear he was slowing down. In 2017, he looked like he had never sniffed a Pro Bowl.
It is not all his fault given the scheme and pass rush. Yes, Nelson a savvy vet and a leader but the Raiders have enough of those on the defense. It was time to move on from Nelson but now he is still getting reps with the starters and leading the defense?
We have a bigger right to feel upset when you consider this team cut franchise faces like Michael Crabtree and Marquette King who were both good players. If either of those players dominates at their next spot, it is only going to make me more pissed.
4) The rest of the West
Raiders fans get crap from every other fan base. That is especially true from our AFC West division rivals. All of them got better this offseason and that grinds my gears.
Further, the jury is still out on Oakland. Initially, it appears the additions were much more depths focus. At best, this regime is hoping that added coaching will help this team in a re-tooling year.
However, the Broncos got Bradley Chubb to pair with Von Miller and Shane Rey. They got a decent QB with Case Keenum. There stock is trending up after a disappointing season and nobody wants to see those pass rushers.
The Chargers had another great NFL Draft where they did not reach for need or value. They got players who can contribute immediately and they look like the top of the AFC West. That is a real reason to get pissed off consider L.A. is other team beat us twice last year.
Do not forget the Chiefs who added more speed to their receiver corps that Oakland already had trouble covering. They signed Sammy Watkins and that group will probably piss us off twice a year.
None of the AFC West teams stayed put. The closest roster to last year is the Chargers and they did not have many needs headed into the offseason. Oakland on the other hand, made many moves but it is unclear if any were significant enough to truly upgrade the roster that makes me tight.
Moreover, the NFC West is on the Raiders schedule this year and that is looking like a great division too. The Rams got everybody and pissed off all NFL fans, including us, who missed Suh and Peters.
Further, San Francisco improved in the draft and free agency. Just their colors is enough to piss off a Raiders fan but now these Jimmy G and Derek Carr comparisons are only going to get more inflammatory.
Even the Cardinals found a franchise receiver and QB and upgraded their roster. We helped Arizona do that by swapping first rounders but it turns out the Cardinals stiffed us.
Otherwise, the Seahawks are re-tooling but they are probably the only team on this side of the coast that took steps back this offseason.
Oakland could be the worst team on this coast if they do not become organized. That would really piss me off if all the AFC and NFC West teams beat the Raiders. At least after this offseason, it would not shock me.
5) The Relocation
Do not let all these football reasons distract you from the real reason of hostility. The Raiders are leaving Oakland in 1-2 years and that should piss off every fan. Currently, there is no definite answer to if the Raiders will leave for Vegas after this season or if they will play one more in Oakland. That is annoying. This year could serve as last season in the Raiders’ Mecca known as Oakland. Good luck getting season tickets either way.
It is also annoying when you factor in the fact that Raiders fans are going to get more segmented. Yes, there is a difference between LA, Oakland, and now Vegas fans. Sure, we all unite for the Silver and Black on Sunday but our behavior, demographics and consumer behavior vary from place to place. That degree of separation will only get bigger as the Raiders move farther away from their California roots into the Silver State and Sin City. We will see more Las Vegas Raiders fans and branding which is a slap in the face to Oakland and all the fans that supported them through the years.
Finally, the Super Bowl never takes place in the offseason. There are plenty of reasons to feel anger after this offseason. Hopefully, the Raiders will win this season and I will laugh at all these reasons why I was angry. Until then, I hope this serves as therapy for RaiderNation that is as pissed off as I am at Oakland’s 2018 offseason.