The Raiders offseason was a controversial one, to say the least. It consisted of trading three starting linemen, a questionable draft, and some odd signings. But, as a diehard Raiders fan, I expect nothing less and as time has passed some of these moves have started to make sense.
The raiders offseason started with shipping the teardown of the offensive line, so that’s where I’ll start. The first player the Raiders shipped out was Trent Brown.
In the two seasons, Brown played for the Raiders he played in only sixteen games because of injuries and COVID. The first time Brown missed time was a pectoral injury which cut his first season as a Raider short five games. The next was during training camp as he injured his calf. His last injury was from a poorly prepared IV he got pre-game of Week 8 against the Browns.
Aside from his injury history, he also showed up overweight and seemed to have a poor work ethic. The Raiders had enough and traded him back to New England with a seventh for a fifth in this upcoming draft.
The second player and most puzzling was center, Rodney Hudson. Like everyone else, I was upset and confused about this trade. Hudson has been a top-three center in the league for at least the last four seasons and has been one of the few bright spots on the offense. He was also the only lineman to play these last six seasons.
But as time passed, it came out that he wanted out. If sports tell us anything it’s that having a disgruntled vet in a locker room with young players isn’t always the best recipe for success. In the end the decision was made to ship him to Arizona for a fifth.
Fans had been speculating his trade for a while as he wasn’t the best when he was on the field; and, it freed up approximately nine million dollars in an offseason the Raiders wanted and quite frankly needed to make a splash in. The trading of Jackson freed this cap and allowed for the signing of more depth. All that being said the Raiders got the same haul for a player not near the caliber of Hudson.
Now I’m sure there are still questions regarding these moves and here is where I am going to answer them. The Raiders have Andre James, a 24-year-old center, just drafted Alex Leatherwood in the first round, Richie Incognito is returning from injury, and John Simpson now has an offseason under his belt.
Now I understand not everyone is high on Leatherwood, James, or Simpson and to those people, I remind you that Tom Cable is one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. Two years ago tackle Kolton Miller looked like he would be a bust and now he looks to be dare I say a top 15-20 tackle in the league. I understand the worry about this upcoming season’s o-line, but I would trust Mayock and Gruden; at least for this last season.
For those of you that watched the Raiders last season, you’ll know that they had near a top 10 offense. The Raiders surprisingly ranked top 10 in all offensive stats other than total rushing yards. I know it’s hard to believe, but in the games, the run game was going the offense was hard to stop. Now with the added offensive firepower at wide receiver and running back they can further cement their status.
At wide receiver, the Raiders added Willie Snead and John Brown while also resigning Zay Jones who is on the cusp of having a breakout season. Now don’t get me wrong these players aren’t eye-popping throw-a-party signings. However, Brown has enough speed to make the defense ‘respect’ him.
When I say the defenses will be forced to respect him as most know defending secondary's typically shade to the number 1 receiver. However his speed forces the defense to make a decision on who to shade to as him and Ruggs will more than likley be on the field at the same time for a majority of the season.
The other wideout brought in is Willie Snead IV. Again not the flashiest pickup, but he gives Hunter Renfrow competition at the slot position as he is also more of a route running receiver. He also has a special spot for me as he graduated from Ball State.
When it comes to Zay Jones, I love the resigning. Not only has Jones worked out with Derek Carr every offseason since the trade, but he can also be the gadget player Lynn Bowden was meant to be.
Now wideout wasn’t the only offensive position that got a facelift as the team also brought in Kenyan Drake. The addition of Drake gives the Riaders run game another dimension. Jacobs allows for more power runs being more of the smash-mouth kind of back, while Drake is shifty and is more reliable in the passing game.
When Drake was first signed many bashed the signing as the contract was viewed as ‘too much for a backup’. Let’s not forget the Browns, who run a similar offense, have two of the highest running backs in the league. Now in no way am I saying that these duos are the same level. However, both teams run the ball a lot, and having a good backup is a good idea.
That wraps up the Raiders moves on offense from this offseason. Be sure to keep an eye out for the defensive rundown coming later this week. Be sure to share if you enjoyed it and leave comments of your thoughts on this offseason. Until next time.