It is cliché’ to say nobody is safe because that is the case across the board of professional sports teams. However, that is especially true, as the Gruden Regime has already hit the Raiders roster hard. There has been quite the roster turnover and I do not expect that to change. Here are some surprise cuts you might not see coming by position and order of shock value.
OT: Donald Penn, David Sharpe, Vadal Alexander, Breno Giacomini
Penn being cut would be surprising given he just signed an extension with the team last year. Added, Penn on Tampa Bay with Gruden. He has helped establish a nasty offensive line culture during his time in Oakland. Moreover, he has been Carr’s offensive tackle the past few years. It would be shocking if the Raiders cut their Pro Bowl tackle even if he is age 35 and making $6 million each of these next two seasons.
Otherwise, Sharpe played surprisingly well in spot duty last year. Of course, many remember him as the left tackle that blocked for Jack Del Rio’s son at Florida. Regardless, Sharpe has all the necessary tools to develop into a starter.
Unfortunately, the Raiders took two offensive tackles in the top of the draft. That means Sharpe’s days with this regime could number few. It is only surprising because Sharpe does have the skill set to play in a variety of schemes including the Raiders new one. Moreover, it would surprise people because Sharpe’s short tenure after drafting. It would be even more shocking if Sharpe received his walking papers before some other tackles on the roster.
For instance, Alexander and Giacomini are both in play at right tackle. Alexander has been solid the past two seasons. He has playing time at guard, tackle and even blocking tight end. Alexander has nine career starts in two seasons too.
Much like Sharpe, Alexander is a product of the previous regime. It would not be too surprising to see him cut because he fits the man blocking and power preferences of the last regime. It would be surprising because Alexander has a ton of versatility, toughness, and playing experience.
Lastly, Giacomini may or may not be the most likely to be cut of this group. The journeyman has not been more than adequate in his past two assignments. Giacomini’s release would be surprising since he just signed onto the team to bring his experience and scheme versatility.
Guard: Jon Feliciano, Denver Kirkland
Speaking of offensive line changes, the guard position will not be exempt from turnover either. Feliciano leaving, would be surprising because he could serve as a starter. The Pro Bowlers ahead of him prevented much of a legitimate chance. Still, Feliciano could be cut because he lacks the quickness and athleticism this regime might want on the offensive line given their selection of two OTs in the NFL Draft. Both Kolton Miller and Brandon Parker are quicker than they are tough. If the Raiders keep all three of the tackles above, I could see any number of them moving insider to guard. The same goes for both rookie offensive linemen if they struggle on the outside.
Kirkland was a surprise contributor as a blocking TE and backup T a few seasons ago. He was fazed out last year and this regime could take it a step farther. This would only be surprising because what changed from two years ago when Kirkland seemed like he could develop into a rotational lineman.