The Las Vegas Raiders have been aggressive in free agency since Jon Gruden became their head coach in 2018. However, their willingness to add talent in the open market hasn’t translated into wins. To add insult to injury, many of the free agents that were supposed to have an impact are no longer with the team.
Wait, hold up. What’s going on?
The Raiders have made splash signings every year since 2018. In Gruden’s first year with the team, they added linebacker Tahir Whitehead and wide receiver Jordy Nelson. In 2019, it was Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Tyrell Williams, and Richie Incognito. Last season was no different and Las Vegas signed defensive end Carl Nassib, wide receiver Nelson Agholor, linebackers Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski, tight end Jason Witten and safety Jeff Heath.
Out of all those players, only Nassib, Heath, Littleton, and Kwiatkoski remain with the team, as they traded Trent Brown to the New England Patriots early Tuesday. Nevertheless, only Littleton and Kwiatkoski are locks to stay. On the other hand, there’s only one reason why they are keeping Nassib. Releasing him wouldn’t free up much cap space and his dead cap hit would be $9.25 million. Nevertheless, if they could find a trade partner, they would probably ship him.
How did the Raiders get here?
Looking back, the Raiders have nothing to show for these signings. It would be one thing if they couldn’t keep the team together after winning a Super Bowl. Nevertheless, their spending ways haven’t bore fruit. You could argue it’s a good thing they’re investing money in free agents. This is especially true after they opted not to pay All-Pro Khalil Mack and decided to ship him to the Chicago Bears instead.
However, the fact they are signing players just to release them one or two seasons later is concerning. This doesn’t reflect well on Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock. Not every free-agent addition is going to pan out, but when most of them have failed, it’s fair to wonder what went wrong. Although this could change this year, past results aren’t encouraging and paint a bleak picture moving forward.
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