The Oakland Raiders can claim embarrassment and obliteration on U.S. and foreign soil. In that case, that cannot sit well with Jon Gruden. Yet, this is the hand the head coach dealt to himself.
The shellacking at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks in London and the resulting 1-5 mark are the byproduct of Gruden imprinting his own image on the Raiders. It started with the jettison of Khalil Mack. Plus, the trend continues with the benchings of Karl Joseph and Gareon Conley. I am sure Gruden did Sebastian Janikowski a solid by releasing the veteran kicker. Gruden didn’t want Seabass to suffer through this debacle.
This roster is nowhere close to the one Gruden envisions as “his”. And, to no surprise, a bye week comes at a perfect time for the Raiders to reconstitute their mental and physical health. It’s also an opportune time for Gruden to assess and reconstitute his teams numbers. It’s time for the Raiders to become a shipping and receiving department. The bye week could and should become bye-bye week.
The team is trending downward and the needle will not move up until after one or two more draft classes and the accompanying waves of free agency that goes along with that. Gruden would be wise to part with players for draft picks that will allow the head honcho to establish his version of the Raiders.
Names being floated around are wide receiver Amari Cooper, Joseph, linebacker Derrick Johnson and potentially cornerback Rashaan Melvin. Gruden should test the waters and see what kind of net return he could get for all players on the roster.
Get what assets/draft capital you can get now for the use in this coming draft rather than waiting too long and settling for future selections (see the Mack deal).
Oh, and about Gruden’s denial Cooper isn’t on the trade block. Gruden’s word at the moment is as sound as the team’s 1-5 record. So don’t come at me with that manure.
An at-a-glance look at the trades:
* Cooper: 22 catches, 280 yards, 1 touchdowns in six games. The 24-year-old wide receiver was dubbed as the “focal point” of the Raiders aerial attack by Gruden. Instead, his contributions are sporadic. His age and his affordable contract make him an intriguing prospect for teams needing a No. 1 or 2 receiving option. Meanwhile, the Raiders shouldn’t settle for anything less than a 2nd round pick. (Most likely, a 4th). Still, a concussion he suffered against Seattle dips his trade value.
* Joseph: 0 tackles in six games. The 25-year-old heat-seeker of a safety appears too small for Paul Guenther’s defense. And, unfortunately, journeyman and special teamer Erik Harris has made tackles not seen from the former first-round pick. Under those circumstances, Joseph could leave. Plus, he hurt his hamstring in his first meaningful snap, a late-round pick for Joseph would be a boon for the Raiders.
* Johnson: 17 tackles in six games. The 35-year-old linebacker started as the starting middle linebacker in Guenther’s defense, but he’s given way to the much younger Marquel Lee. While the team, signed him to provide a stabilizing force and pass coverage chops at the Mike, the aging linebacker holds little to no trade value.
* Melvin: 20 tackles, 1 interception and 7 pass deflections in six games. Said to be working extra to get Guenther’s press and trail scheme down pat. Yet, the 28-year-old cornerback put out a tweet saying he is going to be himself. The Minnesota Vikings lost a corner to an ACL injury this past Sunday. As a result, there’s a team that deploys a similar defense. However, nothing more than a late-round pick for Melvin looks reasonable.
Longshots: Cornerback Gareon Conley, defensive end Bruce Irvin. There really isn’t a “longshot” when it comes to Gruden. However, it’s hard to see the Raiders pull the plug on Conley. Plus, and Irvin’s contract is exorbitant for any team to take on.