Mike Mayock believes he, Jon Gruden in lockstep evaluating potential Raiders


Mike Mayock believes he, Jon Gruden in lockstep evaluating potential Raiders

Jon Gruden has final say in all Raiders football matters. That was the case before Mike Mayock became the team's general manager, and that remains the case now that he’s rocking silver and black.

That’s no secret. That’s also no issue for Mayock, who was scouting Alabama and Clemson players before Monday night’s college football national championship at Levi’s Stadium.

“In all honesty, Jon’s got final say if it ever comes to that, and I have zero problems with that,” Mayock said in a pregame interview with ESPN’s Steve Levy. “Having said that, I think we’re going to come to a consensus. I like a little yelling and a little screaming and a little fighting for what players you believe in, but, at the end of the day, I guarantee you Jon Gruden and I are going to know what a Raider looks like and smells like. I don’t think we’re going to have any issues.”

Mayock was considered the media’s preeminent NFL draft analyst during his NFL Network tenure, which ended last week after he took the Raiders gig.

He’s a Gruden-like grinder and someone the Raiders coach respects and has known for more than 20 years, so Mayock will have a loud voice in free agency and the NFL draft.

That voice will be educated, thanks to extensive study that started the moment Mayock signed on the dotted line. Hours are long in this job, and Mayock admittedly was happy to enjoy fresh air while watching Alabama-Clemson.

"This is the first time I’ve gotten out of the building in a week, and I’m not even kidding you,” Mayock said. “(The new job) has been awesome. I have been a little overwhelmed with the non-football duties that go along with being a GM, and you have to prioritize and get back to the tape, because that’s the reason I’m there in the first place.”

The Raiders will help Mayock with the mechanics of being a GM -- the day-to-day responsibilities beyond player evaluation -- while he learns on the job. His priority at this stage is finding the right players heading into a pivotal offseason where the Raiders have salary-cap flexibility and four picks in the first 35 selections of the NFL draft.

NFL rumors: Raiders hosting former Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict

NFL rumors: Raiders hosting former Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict

The Raiders are continuing to cast a wide net in hopes of adding a veteran linebacker to what is a thing group right now. 

On Tuesday, the Raiders are hosting Vontaze Burfict, NFL Media's Tom Pelissero reported. The veteran linebacker was cut by the Bengals on Monday, and has a long relationship with Oakland's defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. 

Guenther served as Burfict's defensive coordinator in Cincinnati for four seasons from 2014-2017. 

The 28-year-old Burfict has been in the spotlight for his multiple suspensions and acts of dirty play.. He's been suspended three times in his seven-year career, and missed the first four games last season due to violating the league's PED policy.

In 2018, Burfict played in seven games and finished with 33 tackles. 

[RELATED: Raiders have to help Paul Guenther after spending heavily on offense]

The news comes one day after the Raiders reportedly hosted linebackers Manti Te'o and Aaron Lynch. The Raiders currently have a trio of Marquel Lee, Jason Cabinda and Tahir Whitehead to trot out as their linebackers.

Mike Mayock reveals why he's OK with Raiders' NFL free agency spending

Mike Mayock reveals why he's OK with Raiders' NFL free agency spending

Mike Mayock always will be associated with the NFL draft. So it should come as no surprise that the former NFL Network draft analyst had to be convinced to improve the Raiders through free agency and trades.

NBC Sports' Peter King spoke with the Raiders general manager over the weekend and wrote about what Mayock told him in his Football Morning In America column.

So I’ve known Mayock for some time, and when we spoke Saturday night, he sounded like the same driven prospect-knower I’ve come to rely on in the last few years. “I’ll be honest,” he said. “I never believed in big spending in free agency. For years, that is not where my head was. But Jon Gruden and I spent a long, long time examining our team. We had so many team needs. We figured, we can go out and spend a little money on several positions. Or this year, we can look at three, four, five, six guys who can make a difference on the field and, as importantly, in the locker room. If we can get the guys we want, we should do it. We find a way to get Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson at receiver. We get a tackle, Trent Brown, 25 years old, who doesn’t even know how good he can be, who was lock-down, shutout in the playoffs for New England. We got Rodney Hudson at center, with a good young tackle, Kolton Miller, as the other tackle. We can line up and compete right now offensively.”

With the signings of Trent Brown, Williams, Joyner, Jon Feliciano, Josh Mauro and Nelson, the Raiders added just over $40 million to their 2019 salary. When you add the nearly $15 million that Anotnio Brown will make in 2019, Oakland has added $55 million worth of players for the upcoming season.

[RELATED: How AB trade almost didn't happen]

That definitely goes against Mayock's previous mindset. But as he's probably learning, you need veterans on the team in order to compete. And Gruden isn't about to throw away another year playing a bunch of rookies.