Why Raiders traded third-rounder Bowden Jr. to Dolphins


The Raiders made one of the shocking moves of NFL cutdown day, and that was before they released their 53-man roster for their first season in Las Vegas.

Back when the Raiders picked Lynn Bowden Jr. in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, general manager Mike Mayock referred to the selection as "like stealing." Well, the stolen goods have been sold to another taker.

Having already paid him a $985,000 signing bonus, Las Vegas traded Bowden and a 2021 sixth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins on Saturday in exchange for a 2021 fourth-round selection. It was a move that confused many around the league.

Why give up on Bowden so soon, and lose even more value in the process? As The Athletic's Vic Tafur explained, it had as much to do with Bowden's performance on the field in training camp as it did his off of it.

"Some at the team facility thought the rookie was more concerned with picking up new cars than the playbook, and on the field Bowden looked measured and not explosive," Tafur wrote. "On top of a lack of breakaway speed, he was always getting blasted when it was his turn to pass block. 

"There were also some growing concerns that he was getting more and more distracted in Las Vegas and that he might be an influence on other rookies like Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette."

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It is extremely unusual for a team to part ways with a third-round pick so quickly, but for the reasons that Tafur mentioned, the Raiders clearly felt that the risk of keeping Bowden around was not worth the potential reward. Surely, they regret the pick now, but they took decisive action before they could regret it any further.