The day in October that Amari Cooper was traded by the Raiders to the Cowboys, we were led to believe that the decision was made by then-GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden.
But now, it appears that owner Mark Davis was the driving force behind the Cooper trade.
According to The Athletic's Calvin Watkins, Cooper said on Thursday that Davis, not Gruden, wanted to trade him.
Cooper also revealed to Watkins that the Raiders kept rejecting offers of a 2020 first-round pick. The team was only interested in a 2019 first-round pick.
McKenzie said on Oct. 23 that Cowboys CEO Stephen Jones called and offered a 2019 first-round pick. That's when McKenzie walked out to the practice field, relayed the offer on the table to Gruden and the head coach approved the deal with a thumbs up.
Cooper's assertion that Davis pulled the strings on his trade falls in line with Gruden comments on Monday following the firing of McKenzie. Gruden revealed that Davis met with McKenzie after the Raiders' win over the Steelers to deliver the news of his fate.
When reporters asked if the decision to fire McKenzie was strictly made by Davis, Gruden said this: “We all work for the same man."
ALAMEDA – Whether it’s the mice in the soda machine or unstable turf or an unreliable x-ray machine, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum has its issues.
Derek Carr might call them quirks.
The Raiders quarterback has played most of his professional home games there over nearly five seasons, and he has a tough time pondering Christmas Eve could be his last game played there.
“That is crazy. To me, that just seems weird,” Carr said. “It just seems different to even think that way. I’ve spent five years playing in the stadium and we have people talking trash about it, but I love it. It’s ours. It has been fun, and the fact that it could be the last [game] is crazy. When that time comes, we’ll enjoy it.”
[RELATED: Will Raiders play in Oakland in 2019? Owner Mark Davis won’t comment]
That isn’t official yet, but it’s in the realm of possibility after the City of Oakland filed a federal antitrust and breach-of-contract lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL on Tuesday.
The Raiders haven’t ruled out the Coliseum remaining their home field, but they are exploring other places to play the 2019 season.
That makes it a very real possibility the Dec. 24 game against Denver could be the last Raiders game played there. That wasn’t the case Monday, but Tuesday’s legal action changed things
“It’s always something every day here, isn’t it? I enjoy seeing you guys here asking all these questions,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “I want to play in Oakland. I’m really sensitive to it, as you would expect. That’s where I want to play. We’ll see what happens.”
The Raiders issued a statement Monday announcing general manager Reggie McKenzie no longer was with the team, but the words weren’t attached to anybody. It wasn’t coach Jon Gruden thanking McKenzie for his service, nor was it owner Mark Davis.
Gruden answered questions about McKenzie’s departure during his Monday press conference, but Davis didn’t say anything about it at first, though he was the one to let McKenzie go. He is, after all, the bosses’ boss.
Davis broke his silence on McKenzie’s firing in a brief Tuesday interview with NBC Sports California that focused solely on that topic.
“Reggie is a great person with a great family,” Davis said. “It was tough [to make the decision]. It was tough for him early on, but he was unselfish. He could’ve done some things for instant gratification, but he didn’t do that. He worked hard for our organization, and we are thankful for everything he did for the Raiders."
Davis is right -- it was tough early in McKenzie’s tenure, which started in 2012. The Raiders were in dire salary-cap straits, without many draft picks available to rebuild the roster. He made tough choices to get the team right financially, and he hit on enough draft picks to build a quality 12-4 squad in 2016.
Success wasn’t sustained, though, and it didn’t work with McKenzie and Gruden together this season despite Davis' best wishes that it would. Davis became close with McKenzie over the years as a friend, as well as in a business relationship, so the decision to fire the GM was difficult even with the 3-10 Raiders' struggles.
Davis will be involved in finding McKenzie’s replacement and the right executive to work with Gruden as he begins a roster rebuild this offseason.