The Raiders have either released or not re-signed many players who were with the team in 2018. After all the transactions the team made, there aren’t many familiar names a casual fan can recognize and for the most part, those offseason losses will help Oakland improve and won’t affect the team much in 2019.
None of this is surprising in the least. After all, those same players that aren’t with the team anymore were the reason why the team had a losing season last year. Some were fan favorites, but nostalgia isn’t going to win many games so many changes were needed.
Among those who were let go was wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who had a decent season in 2018. He had 63 catches for 739 yards. Decent production is acceptable for a third wide receiver, not from a featured one. The Raiders will carry $1.8 million in dead money in 2019 after cutting Nelson, but had enough cap space to revamp the position as a whole. Complementary wide receiver J.J. Nelson was acquired for a more affordable sum after trading for superstar Antonio Brown and signing vertical threat Tyrell Williams.
Left tackle Donald Penn was part of the only winning season the Raiders have had in the last 15 years, but he wasn’t reliable anymore and in the twilight of his career, he couldn’t be trusted to protect Derek Carr’s blind side anymore. The teams carries $1.75 million in dead money after they released him, but recently signed offensive tackle Trent Brown to take over his place.
Offensive lineman Jon Feliciano wasn’t offered a new contract either and signed with the Bills instead. Feliciano could have provided solid depth, but with limited roster spots, players in the draft with more upside and linemen Brandon Parker and Kolton Miller expected to improve in their sophomore campaings, someone had to go and that was Feliciano.
Many new players were brought in with the intention of helping the Raiders turn into a competitive team. Because there are only so many roster spots, some other players were given their pink slips. Oakland became a better team after not bringing those players back.