Just a few years ago, it looked like the Las Vegas Raiders were poised to become a perennial playoff. Their 2014 draft class was a big reason why. Propelled by players such as Khalil Mack, Derek Carr, and Gabe Jackson, it seemed like the Silver and Black were going to be among the NFL’s top echelon. Instead, they have had just one winning season in the last seven years and the looming release of Jackson is a painful reminder of the organization’s lack of direction.
Wait, what are you talking about?
The Raiders have informed Jackson they plan to release him, per former NFL Insider Josina Anderson. Moving on from the Mississippi State product will open up $9.6 million in cap space without a dead cap hit. As soon as the move becomes official, he will become a free agent and free to sign with whoever he wants.
A third-round selection in 2014, Jackson appeared in 100 games for the Raiders, starting 99. He looked promising in his first few seasons. However, he peaked and never became the Pro Bowl player the team envisioned. He just couldn’t live up to the five-year $55 million contract he signed in 2017.
The Raiders’ 2014 draft class retrospective
The Raiders’ 2014 class was arguably the best the team has had in the last 30 years. The 2016 season looked like the beginning of great things for the Silver and Black. They got so many good players that year that then-general manager Reggie McKenzie won the Executive of the Year Award. Nevertheless, the team has regressed and Carr is the player remaining in the team from that class.
In retrospect, that 2014 class was an outlier and not the norm, as Las Vegas hasn’t drafted well in the last few years. In fact, it doesn’t seem like there’s a direction in place and Jackson was one of the few pieces remaining from a playoff team that never was.
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Top Photo: Tony Avelar/Associated Press