The Oakland Raiders are headed towards a high draft pick and subsequent youth movement, leading many veterans to want out.
Year one of the Jon Gruden Experience hasn’t gone according to plan for the Oakland Raiders. Now, many veteran players are contemplating requesting their releases, multiple sources tell FanSided.
While Bruce Irvin was not one of those players, there are others on the roster who would like a fresh start as the team starts to play its younger talent amid a brutal campaign. At 1-7, Oakland appears destined for a top-three pick in next year’s NFL Draft, something that will put many veterans on the bench instead of in a contributor role for a contender down the stretch.
Looking at the roster, a few potential cuts could include running back Doug Martin, receivers Brandon LaFell and Martavis Bryant, defensive linemen Frostee Rucker and Johnathan Hankins, safety Reggie Nelson and corner Leon Hall. All the aforementioned names are unlikely to return next season as pending unrestricted free agents, making them expendable.
With the season all but finished, the Raiders are going to focus on developing their younger talent, specifically rookies P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst along the defensive line, Arden Key off the edge and Kolton Miller at left tackle.
Gruden’s roster purge began before the season with the release of Michael Crabtree and blockbuster trade of All-Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack, sending him to the Chicago Bears. Gruden has continued to move on from former cornerstones, trading wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys, netting a first-round pick in return.
For Oakland, the plan moving forward is evident. The Raiders have five first-round selections over the next two drafts, including a trio if 2019. Those picks, along with well in excess of $70 million in cap space, will go toward a rebuilding effort that is intended to yield results by the move to Las Vegas in 2020.