Raiders

Gruden's 2019 comments don't reflect well on 2021 Raiders

Raiders
USATSI

When the Raiders traded away Khalil Mack in a blockbuster move in Jon Gruden’s first year on the job, many figured there would be a clear winner and loser.

In nearly three years since the swap, it looks like the Chicago Bears are in better shape than the Raiders. Back in 2019, Gruden defended the trade by pointing at the bevy of players it allowed the franchise to sign without Mack’s extension, which made him the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player at the time.

Nowadays, Gruden’s comments aren’t looking so hot. Especially after Monday's reported release of cornerback Lamarcus Joyner and Tuesday's reported trade of tackle Trent Brown.

As Marcus Mosher from Pro Football Focus noted, the players Gruden mentioned are no longer with the team.

Vontaze Burfict has not played in the NFL since being suspended in 2019 and was arrested in December on a misdemeanor battery charge.

Mack has made the Pro Bowl in each of his three seasons with the Bears, racking up 30 sacks in that span while remaining an elite, game-changing pass-rusher.

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Gruden and Mike Mayock have had two-plus years together at the helm of the Raiders franchise.

Mayock was hired in December 2018 following the dismissal of Reggie MacKenzie as general manager, plucked by Gruden from NFL Network where he was a go-to guy for draft analysis. Given Gruden re-entered the league from his chair behind a desk at ESPN, the Raiders became easy targets for criticism and TV broadcaster jokes. Gruden and Mayock deserved the benefit of time, but we're starting to see the first real returns.

 

They say the proof is in the pudding, and this duo’s first batch didn’t come out right. Gruden might feel secure entering the fourth season of his 10-year, $100 million deal, but Mayock’s personnel decisions have not panned out well. Even though he was hired after the Mack trade, Mayock's seat should be getting a little toasty if it isn’t already.