Who’s Staying and Who’s Leaving on Raiders Special Teams

Lets face it, the Raiders special teams struggled but luckily none of them are long term commitments or costly. The most important role here is the kicker and I expect a camp battle to determine who will stay moving forward.

Daniel Carlson

Split decision, as an exclusive rights free agent I see him moving on to camp but given his stats, he may not make it to the season kickoff. Kickers literally have one job, and Carlson made 19 of those 26 field goals, but 0 of 2 on 50+ yarders. As far as the extra points, he hit a respectable 34 of 36, but when its your only job, those XPs should be flawless. I backed up Carlson a long time, but as others pointed out, head coach Jon Gruden just can’t trust him in critical situations. He should have competition if he returns, but he is not guaranteed a spot in the season, or even training camp really.

AJ Cole

Moving up, I am not going to get into a punter’s stats here, he’s no Lechler or King but he will suffice and is under contract. He has performed well enough to not have to worry about competition this year.

Related: Raiders in Review: A.J. Cole takes control

Trent Sieg

Moving up, Sieg is kind of a package deal with Cole in my eyes. He is also an exclusive rights free agent. Raider Nation learned years ago what a bad long snapper can do to a game. He is no Jon Condo, but he too should suffice and get extended as long as he and Cole are playing with minimal to no errors.


Raiders lack a true Gunner, that first guy to get down the field to rock the return man. Isaiah Johnson has time as that in the past and seemed to enjoy it. He could be a solid candidate there, but there are others that should be fighting for that spot.

Punt/Kick Return

These positions need attention. Jalen Richard has ball security issues and may be on his way out. Hunter Renfrow has had some issues here too, more importantly though, he is needed more elsewhere. Hopefully Dwayne Harris will be re-signed here but after his injury, they need an insurance policy. A possible strong candidate here should be Rico Gafford, his speed would be utilized well here.

Any others?

Another kicker, or two if Carlson isn’t brought back should be added via free agency. Gruden has reached into drafts before for a kicker and could do it again. Some games are won and lost by kickers after all.

Final Words

Carlson does not deserve to be re-signed as the main guy, he needs to earn it, give him competition. Punter and Long Snapper should be safe, Cole and Sieg could fit perfect here long term wise. The gunner position isn’t a huge concern but can be a difference maker. Return team should see a few faces in training camp. Raiders need faster guys with better ball security returning those kicks.

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