The Raiders personnel department has been a stable unit since 2012. Jon Gruden’s hiring will shake things up.
The new Raiders head coach, who will be formally announced in a Tuesday press conference, won’t sign at 10-year, roughly $100 million contract to merely run the 53-man roster.
He’ll pick his players, too. While there’s a new sheriff in town, that doesn’t mean the incumbent’s out the door.
Reggie McKenzie will remain Raiders general manager in 2018, sources say, though his influence will obviously be dulled. McKenzie staying put was the expectation, but The Athletic’s Vic Tafur first reported that McKenzie would in fact keep his post on Friday afternoon.
McKenzie’s current contract runs through the 2021 NFL draft.
The Raiders’ GM since 2012 may have had a chance to get out of Oakland, but reportedly didn’t take it. ESPN’s Jim Trotter reported that McKenzie declined a request to interview for the Green Bay Packers GM job vacated by Ted Thompson earlier this week. McKenzie worked in Green Bay from 1994-2011, though that didn’t make him a favorite. The Packers have several quality in-house candidates, and are reportedly interested in Seattle GM (and former Packers alum) John Schneider, though he may be tough to pry from the Seahawks.
Gruden will add some trusted advisers to the personnel department. CBS Sports states the Raiders will hire an executive vice president of football operations to oversee personnel and possibly another lower-ranking exec to the group. Joey Clinkscales is currently the director of player personnel, and Shaun Herock is the director of college scouting.
Gruden joins the Raiders in terrific standing with the salary cap, thanks in large part to McKenzie. The Silver and Black are roughly $18 million under the 2018 salary cap, and can carry $7.6 million in unused 2017 cap space.
They also have tremendous financial flexibility, able to cut high-priced contracts attached to Michael Crabtree, Sean Smith, David Amerson, Bruce Irvin, Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele, Marshawn Lynch, Jared Cook, Cordarrelle Patterson and Marshall Newhouse. Most members of that list are expected back, but more cap space is easily created should Gruden covet a particular player.
Edge rusher Khalil Mack should eat up some cash this offseason. He has a giant contract extension coming, with only a fifth-year option separating him from the Raiders being forced to use a monstrous franchise tag.