I want to take a minute to explain why I think (even if I’m in the minority) that Jon Gruden is doing a ‘good’ Job with the Oakland Raiders. Lets starts with the contract that Mark Davis gave Gruden, not just the money but more importantly the length. I think the 10 year contract is more about this being a longer term plan than most teams now have rather just a way of making a headline.
So I think most people now know that the Raiders are moving to Las Vegas for the start of the 2020 season. This current season is due to be the teams last in the Oakland Colosseum and Oakland. This presents a unique problem, most teams build a new stadium and it creates a lot of excitement. It does not usually coincide with a state relocation. Most teams will leave a stadium and open up the new stadium or a new stadium in a new city. Oakland will be without a home city in 2019. i believe this plays in to the long term planing of the team and its head coach, not to be a competitive team this year but to be one in 2020. This coincide with the move to Las Vegas. This will help get a new fan base behind the team, help with ticket sales and sponsorship.
The team believes they have the elusive franchise QB in Derek Carr agreeing to a $125 Million dollar contract. The relationship has been up and down but if they can get on the same page moving forward the team would be able to use all the picks they have collected to build around him, this a stark contrast to teams on the past having to collect picks to move up and grab ‘the next franchise QB’ to come out of college.
On the field
Now to the on field performance of this years team. I believe this is also based on tying to be competitive for 2020.
To start the season the raiders traded Kalil Mack to the Chicago Bears for first round picks in 2019 & 20 and a third rounder in 2020. The Bears would then sign Mack to the extension that he wanted a $141m with $90m guaranteed. At this stage the potential from draft picks acquired for him is more important to the team than Mack. Having Mack help the team to win a couple of extra games, still not making the playoffs and now sitting in the middle of the draft and further from the top prospects and devaluing the picks they have collected.
The Raiders also traded their top receiver the the Dallas Cowboys for another first round pick. This leaves the raiders with 3 1st round picks in 2019 and 2 in 2020. This gives them all the ammunition they need to move in the draft. Weather this for a QB or marquee position to just collect top tier talent (this method is paying off for the Cleveland Browns).
With the picks collected via trades this year the team can build in the draft and through 2019. With the goal of being competitive in 2020 and beyond. This coincides with the stadium move and giving players time to adapt to life in the NFL. Many players to come out of the past few drafts have excelled year two. Jared Goff & Patrick Mahomes to name a few.
Jon Gruden’s time in Oakland will be assessed in 2020 in my opinion. If he has this team Competitive by 2020 people will quickly forget about a bad 2018. In a what have you done for me lately league, 2020 we could be saying what a fantastic job the Raiders have done.
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