Kelechi Osemele

Ex-Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele calls Amari Cooper trade 'the dagger'

Ex-Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele calls Amari Cooper trade 'the dagger'

The 2018 NFL season was rough on former Raiders guard Kelechi Osemele.

On the way to a 4-12 record, head coach Jon Gruden brought about significant change to Oakland's roster, particularly through two major trades involving two of the most talented players on the team.

Prior to the start of the season, defensive end Khalil Mack was shipped to the Chicago Bears in exchange for a bevy of draft picks.

A couple weeks later, the fire sale continued, as standout receiver Amari Cooper was traded to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2019 first-round pick.

Losing Mack was hard enough on the veterans still on the roster. But the subsequent trade of Cooper increased the pessimism within the locker room.

"It was so unbelievable, it would have been like if an alien had landed on the field," Osemele recalled on Bleacher Report's The Lefkoe Show. "People were just shocked, like what the hell is going on right now."

Osemele went on to reveal that the trade was never communicated directly to the players despite occurring during practice.

"That for sure was like the dagger," Osemele said of finding out Cooper had been traded. "You could feel it. Like, people were talking about it in the locker room, like, 'Yo, I guess they're like really rebuilding.' You just, like, knew at that point."

[RELATED: Report: Amari Cooper has 'shockingly high' contract demands]

The Raiders slogged to a 4-12 finish, tied for the worst record in the AFC. Several of the picks they received in exchange for Mack and Cooper were put to use during last month's draft, and the players they used those selections on will play a major role in ushering in Gruden and new general manager Mike Mayock's renewed vision for the team.

Of course, Osemele won't be a part of that vision. He was traded, along with a sixth-round selection to the Jets back on March 9 for a 2019 fifth-round pick. 

Osemele will get his first opportunity to face his former team when the Raiders play at the Jets in Week 12.

Source: Raiders will trade two-time Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele to Jets

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USATSI

Source: Raiders will trade two-time Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele to Jets

The Raiders used significant salary-cap space after agreeing to trade for receiver Antonio Brown and give him a big, fat raise Saturday.

They got some flexibility back a few hours later Sunday, when they agreed to trade two-time Pro Bowl guard Kelechi Osemele and a sixth-round draft pick to the New York Jets for a fifth-round pick in 2019, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area.

The deal won’t become official until the new league year starts Wednesday.

ESPN was first to report the Osemele deal, and Bay Area News Group was first to report terms of the trade.

The move frees $10.2 million in cap space without dead money attached and takes $11.7 million off the books in 2020. None of that money is guaranteed.

The Raiders could have cut Osemele if they didn’t find a trade partner, so getting a return should be considered a win, even if it isn’t much for a former All-Pro.

Osemele was dominant in 2016 and at times in 2017, but he had a down 2018 impacted by injuries. The road-paving left guard became too expensive working under a big-money contract negotiated by former GM Reggie McKenzie, and therefore was expendable despite his talents.

The Raiders will need help at guard, either in the starting lineup or for depth. High-priced right guard Gabe Jackson easily could move to the left -- he played there during his entire athletic career before Osemele came aboard -- and Denzelle Good could play right guard. Last year’s backup interior lineman, Jon Feliciano, is well respected throughout the NFL and will hit unrestricted free agency without a new deal from the Raiders.

The Raiders' plans at guard are uncertain at this time, though it must be addressed in some way this offseason.

The Raiders' cap space can’t be identified at this stage, without full details of Brown’s contract restructuring worth roughly $50 million.

[RELATED: AB posts interview of Gruden complimenting him]

Adding $10.2 million to this year’s total makes up for some decreases from the Brown deal and gives the Raiders more flexibility heading toward free agency. Teams can start negotiating with agents for free agents on Monday and can sign them on Wednesday afternoon when the new league year begins.

Osemele was an important member of a once-dominant Raiders offensive line that fell on hard times last season. The Iowa State alum missed five games with injury last year, his first after dropping significant weight before the 2018 offseason.

Raiders' once dominant offensive line needs some help after down year

Raiders' once dominant offensive line needs some help after down year

INDIANAPOLIS – The Raiders signed offensive lineman Denzelle Good to a one-year contract extension, as the team announced Saturday morning.

Smart move.

The versatile veteran played well in three starts at right guard at last season’s end, growing quickly within the system after signing with the Raiders in Week 14.

He won’t play there permanently. Right guard is Gabe Jackson’s spot. Will be for years.

Good’s return addresses depth issues exposed last season, when a once-dominant offensive line fell on hard times.

The unit gave up 52 sacks, the highest total since Derek Carr became the Raiders' starting quarterback in 2014. It struggled against the run at times, limited what an already deficient unit could do offensively.

Center Rodney Hudson wasn’t a problem. He was as great as ever, possibly the Raiders best player regardless of position. Jackson and Kelechi Osemele struggled with injury. The flanks were suspect thanks to rookie tackles starting on the left and right.

One bad year, however, doesn’t necessitate a complete overhaul. Hudson is a lock at center, and Gabe Jackson will be back at right guard. The Raiders have great confidence in 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller, who will return to left tackle. It’s not hyperbole to say the Raiders think he’ll be a Pro Bowler several times over despite his rookie struggles while battling through significant knee issues.

Last year’s third-round right tackle Brandon Parker was forced into action after Donald Penn landed on IR early, and struggled mightily at times. Growth is expected in his second year – he’s training with Jackson, and bulking up – but it’s no lock he’s able to be the consistent presence needed on the right.

The Raiders will look to add competition there through free agency or the draft, even with Donald Penn returning in his mid-30s. While he might go too high for the Raiders liking, the coaching staff liked Kansas State’s Dalton Risner at the Senior Bowl. He could be an option at the right spot, among several others in the draft.

Osemele has been dominant but makes roughly $10 million next season and can be cut without dead money attached, so there’s some mild uncertainty about his return even if it’s still expected.

“It was up and down a little bit, but he’s a starting left guard in the NFL,” Raiders GM Mike Mayock said. “There aren’t all that many guys in that category.”

The Raiders have a big decision to make regarding Jon Feliciano, a swing interior lineman who has been invaluable in recent seasons. He’s set for unrestricted free agency, and has proven a capable starter in this league.

[RELATED: Antonio Brown trade: Raiders' costs, benefits of pursuing wide receiver]

There could be competition for his services – he has put plenty of good work on film – and losing him would be a blow. Good could step into that role inside, though backup center would still be required.

The Raiders don’t need to completely retool the offensive line like several other position groups.