It’s only May and Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock, head coach Jon Gruden and owner Mark Davis are seeing returns on making the correct tough decisions. They are front and center of all sports talk shows and everyone consistently has had an incorrect opinion on what the Alameda team is going to do next.
When they make a move, it’s always billed as the wrong move until it’s proven otherwise. The game hasn’t passed anyone by as the Gruden & Mayock brain trust is on some next level thinking and planning.
OMG, how could they trade Mack???
When the Raiders moved on from EDGE Khalil Mack, they were ridiculed and mocked by everyone. When Oakland traded for wide receiver Antonio Brown, they gave up too much for a malcontent who was past his prime and not even the best receiver on his team.
After caving to the contractual demands of quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks couldn’t afford Frank Clark and they were left with no other choice but to trade him. When they acquired a 2019 first, one of Kansas City’s two 2020 second round selections, and a third round pick swap (Chiefs #84 Seahawks #92), nobody said a peep. There was no criticism, there was no outcry. A good cost-effective cap move, trading a premier defensive end in his prime for less than two premium picks.
The Chicago Bears, a mere six months or so after acquiring Mack and breaking him off with a whole lot of cash, have already restructured his deal, which severely limited their ability go out and sign free agents in the offseason. Meanwhile, rumor has it there is some type of lingering issue with his knee.
Getting out on Cooper at the right time
When the Raiders traded wide receiver Amari Cooper to Dallas for the 27th pick in the draft, Cowboy fans everywhere were smug and insufferable. Football analysts and experts around the country were saying it was a great move by Dallas, but Gruden knew better.
Cooper and the Cowboys had a good run, winning a game in the playoffs before losing in the divisional round to the Rams 22-30. In a game where the the team needed him to step up and earn his money, he caught six of nine targets for 65 yards and a TD, as well as being stripped for a costly fumble.
Leading up to the draft, Stephen Jones, son of owner Jerry Jones, not lacking in Texan bravado made a bold statement, “when it’s time the Raiders to use our pick we will be watching Amari Cooper highlights.”
From what has been reported last, both parties find themselves at odds over the wide receiver’s new contract. Cooper has designs on being the highest paid player at his position. Yet, the inconsistency of his play doesn’t support it and his overall numbers don’t merit caving into his demands either.
Per a source, contract talks between the Cowboys and receiver Amari Cooper remain at a stalemate, stuck in neutral and going nowhere _ however, you want to characterize it.
— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) May 20, 2019
Enter Mr. Mike Mayock (Business is boomin)
Mayock fleeced Steelers general manager Kevin Gilbride for the best wide receiver in the game for a third and a fifth round pick, but the party was cut short when the narrative became… AB’s a locker room cancer and a franchise destroyer and the Raiders are going to suffer for bringing him in, and…
And… Brown has been nothing short of a professional once he touched down in California. He’s worked out at high schools and at Cal with the football team (he gave them boys a lesson too, while wearing with what appeared to be a weight vest). He’s showed up at quarterback Derek Carr’s house unannounced. He hasn’t let the negativity stop him from working and producing results.
All through the offseason, Oakland has been ridiculed for making the correct decisions to enhance the franchise. The media has been left guessing and it’s driving them crazy. Gruden has been trolling them relentlessly since he got hired.
The Raiders have spent money wisely too, and have effectively addressed many holes in their roster. Buried deep in the contract language is the fact they can get out of a good majority of these deals in relatively short order, if things head south.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
In a copycat league, franchises adapt to and incorporate working philosophies into their business model. Tracing the path of the autumn wind and dealing young premier edge defenders and allowing someone else to break the bank seems to be the new standard of doing business.
With the change in regime an awful lot of old personnel has left the building. Mayock has gone through his organization while shutting off more leaks than a plumber. Replacing scouts deemed expendable with well respected scouts from other organizations. Surrounding himself with people he can actually trust, and can keep team business inside the team.
With the CBA fifth year option rule being disregarded by players, and prompting season long holdout threats, teams seem to be gearing up to faster turnover rate for player personnel and thus multiplying the importance of draft picks and scouting.
The Raiders promised Carr they weren’t drafting someone to take his place. Gruden stated numerous times they have a starting quarterback on this roster. Mayock said the Raiders were going to surround him with weapons, which is exactly what they did.
Yet, all anybody could ever hear on tv was how early they were drafting a quarterback. At this point nobody truly has any idea what the Raiders are thinking or could possibly have brewing up their sleeves, just the way they like it. They have everyone guessing and still have yet to finish up voluntary OTA’s.
If it’s not too much to ask let’s sit back and watch the onion get peeled back layer by layer. This organization is being rebuilt properly with the attention being paid to all the correct details. Both the free agent and draft classes of this offseason suggest the front office saw a genuine need to become more competitive in the AFC West above all else.
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