After a dormant month or so, the Las Vegas Raiders started shedding unwanted cap weight from their roster. Recently, the Raiders released Tyrell Williams and Gabe Jackson. The Williams release did not entirely come as a surprise to many, as the six-year veteran could not find a way to stay healthy with the team. Williams would be quickly scooped up by the Detroit Lions.
However, the Gabe Jackson release seemed a bit strange. Jackson stood as one of two remaining players from 2016’s “Carr Insurance” offensive line. Rodney Hudson stands alone. When teams release players with bigger contracts, many jump to the conclusion that the teams are making space. Typically, teams use March and February as team evaluation periods.
Long Cut Line
Williams and Jackson will join Lamarcus Joyner as three of the biggest names the Raiders will be parting ways with this offseason. Regardless of the exact reasoning behind the releases, Las Vegas needed some wiggle room in their salary cap, and aging, big contracts tend to be the first to go. Gabe Jackson will certainly find a starting role somewhere in the league, but the Raiders must believe he is past his prime.
Although many may disagree with a release or two, it is hard to argue against it. The Raiders MUST improve in 2021, as more jobs than one might think to appear to be riding on it, and in this sense, it is impossible to teach old dogs to be more youthful. The point being that the Raiders roster at the end of the 2020 season clearly was not playoff-worthy, so how would keeping everything the same help them improve?
The Business of Football
It is difficult to watch fan favorites and longer-tenured players leave. However, seeing them struggle feels worse, which might not be the case for Gabe Jackson. Williams played five games in full health over two seasons for Las Vegas. As a result, team determined him to not be worth the health concerns. In 2019, Williams did score five touchdowns in his first five games, before becoming significantly hindered by a foot injury.
Without a doubt, the Jackson release could make or break the Raiders’ 2021 season. Should his replacement not step up, this could be incredibly detrimental to the offense, regardless of cap space created by his release. However, if the $9 million created by his release is put to good use, and the Raiders’ young offensive line continues to trend upwards, the Raiders will be able to feel as though they made the right moves. Shuffling a roster remains a hallmark of quality NFL teams.