Momentum is something the Oakland Raiders possessed heading into this past season, but by mid-November had lost it completely. By the time the 2017 slate of games came to a close, they were only a mere shell of who they were just one year ago. Unfortunately, due to one poor Jack Del Rio decision after another, the Raiders were left scaring nobody and were as predictable offensively as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.
One thing about momentum, though, is it’s a fickle beast that can return on a whim (or it could take 14 years to return, but Raider fans don’t need that reminder). Well, momentum has indeed returned on a whim, and this time the fickle beast came back for one reason: Jon Gruden.
Now that Gruden is once again “Back in Black”, and will roam the sidelines as the leader Mark Davis and many Raiders fans wanted for this franchise, he now has begun working on what will keep momentum on the Raiders’ side - winning football games. After recently completing the hiring of his sophisticated coaching staff, Gruden surely has turned his full attention to player personnel.
After watching a plethora of film on players from his current roster, Gruden and his staff will need to decide which players from the current roster should stay, and who should be cut loose.
Per Over The Cap, after signing all of the possible ERFA Tenders on a multitude of young players, the Raiders would only be left with around $19 million in cap space. However, thanks to the careful work of General Manager Reggie McKenzie dating back to 2012, the Raiders have a ton of cap flexibility. For example, if the Raiders cut ties with Marshawn Lynch, Michael Crabtree, Marshall Newhouse, Bruce Irvin, and Sean Smith, they would have over $49 million in cap space with no additional dead money. Gruden has already made one move by jettisoning former starting corner David Amerson while saving $6 million against the cap in the process.
Disappointing Wide Receiver Seth Roberts, whose drop issues in limited targets were a huge problem this past season, could also be on the chopping block, freeing up an additional $2.45 million and potentially putting the Silver & Black above $50 million in cap space heading into the first wave of free agency.
So, why would Gruden get rid of these guys? Well, he may not get rid of all of them, but it would be surprising if most of those named players weren’t playing elsewhere in 2018.