This past offseason, the Oakland Raiders decided to move on from Pro Bowl offensive guard Kelechi Osemele. Many people were surprised that head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock decided to trade the talented, but often injured, and expensive guard. The same approach might be taken with right guard Gabe Jackson next year.
In 2017, Jackson signed a 5-year, $56 million dollar extension. At the time, it was considered a great move, Jackson never reached free agency and the Raiders kept one of their core young players under contract. In 2018 though, he suffered an elbow injury late in the season and in 2019, he got hurt once again in training camp. This time, it was his MCL. He returned to action in Week 7 and has started every game since. The problem is he has not been the same dominating Gabe Jackson. Is he still hurt or is he having an off year?Could it be a little bit of both?
Like Osemele, Jackson’s earnings will come into play this upcoming offseason. Per spotrac.com, he is slated to make approximately $9.6 million each of the next 3 seasons. If the Raiders cut him when this season is over, he would not cost the team any dead money. Knowing that linemen Richie Icognito and Jordan Devey (who did a solid job playing while Jackson was out this season) are becoming free agents and current right tackle Trent Brown’s salary bumping up to $21.5 next season, moving on from Jackson may be an option.
The Raiders do have three third round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft and another selection in the fourth. Don’t be surprised to see Oakland use one of these mid round picks at this position. Here are a few guys that would fit the “Gruden Grinder” mode.
Logan Stenberg, 6-6 321, Kentucky #71
Stenberg won’t wow you with his athleticism, but more than makes up for it with tenacity. His opponents are not fond of him and that is never a bad thing. Having Incognito to mentor him would be recipe for success.
Shane Lemieux, 6-4 316, Oregon, #68
Lemieux is an outstanding pass blocker that has no issues getting after it in the run game. He is not a finished product but handled himself just fine vs Auburn in the season opener. After seeing Raiders offensive line coach Tom Cable do wonders with guys like Devey, Denzelle Good and David Sharpe, you can be sure he can get this young guy coached up.
Solomon Kindley, 6-4 335 Georgia, #66
Watching Kindley on film sort of reminds me of Jackson. Thick legged guard that does a great job in the run game but needs some work on his pass protection. Kindley would probably be better served by getting into better shape and losing some weight in order to assist his lateral movement.
In free agency, the best guards available will be Brandon Scherff, Ron Leary and Kyle Long. Each of those guys may cost the Raiders the same amount or more money than Jackson. With so many other holes to address, especially on defense, the Raiders may just re-sign Incognito and Devey while they let some other young guard(s) develop.
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