Marquette King

Revenge played role in former Raiders punter Marquette King signing with Broncos

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AP

Revenge played role in former Raiders punter Marquette King signing with Broncos

Marquette King will stay in the AFC West. That was, in part, a factor in signing with the Denver Broncos just days after the Raiders cut him with three years left on his contract.

The popular, productive punter said facing the Raiders regularly over the life of his new three-year deal -- reportedly worth up to $7 million -- in Denver played a part in his decision.

“I just wanted to find the best place that I thought I would fit,'' King said in a conference call with Denver media, per KUSA. "I think there is somewhat of a revenge factor in there, too.”

That revenge factor wasn’t the only reason King chose Denver. He called the Mile High City a “punter’s paradise,” with its high altitude allowing his strong leg to send punts high and deep. King has been excellent during appearances in Denver, and played a vital role in a 2015 victory at Sports Authority Field by placing five punts inside the opposing 20-yard line.

It must also be said here that King didn't choose to get cut. He was released without warning, and found a solid fit and a quality salary. King said the last week has been weird, from his surprise cut to signing in Denver. 

“The last few days were definitely different. It felt like — you know how you play those UFC games and you get punched and you’re in a daze until you get knocked out? That’s what it kind of felt like,” King said, via the Denver Post. “It all happened so fast. I just felt like Denver was the best team to go to. The people that I was familiar with that are here with the organization — you get a homely feeling when you get here. I’m just looking forward to competing and winning games. That’s all.”

Punters of King’s caliber don’t often hit free agency, especially mid-contract. He had roughly $3 million per season coming through 2020 on a deal inked during the 2016 offseason, a number now too steep for the Raiders.

King was also well known for celebrating successful punts, the occasional penalty flag and an eccentric personality that gave him a powerful social media presence.

King said he wasn’t told if that played a role in his release from the Raiders. He didn’t get an explanation, and said he never met new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

“I just saw him on car commercials and stuff,” King said, via the Denver Post. “But I’ll definitely get to see him two times a year.”

King said the Broncos didn’t ask him to tone down his celebrations or off-field persona.

“Not at all,'' King said, via the Denver Post. "The cool thing about the Broncos is the people that work at the Broncos encourage you to be yourself. That is real cool. Players play a lot better when they can let their hair down and be themselves. It’s cool.''

King hasn’t spoken to Bay Area press since his release, but tweeted two things shortly after signing with Denver.

Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin, who wasn’t thrilled with King posting a picture of him and Aqib Talib holding a chain – a perceived shot at Michael Crabtree’s feud with the then-Broncos cornerback – chimed in on King’s team switch.

Raiders have draft options to replace Marquette King, free-agent well nearly dry

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USATSI

Raiders have draft options to replace Marquette King, free-agent well nearly dry

The Raiders are now on a punter hunt, a surprising turn considering Marquette King was locked up long-term.

King was released Friday afternoon with three years left on a contract extension signed in 2016. His loss gave the Raiders $2.9 million in salary cap space and an immediate positional need.

Colby Wadman is the only punter on the Raiders roster, originally signed to help King get through the offseason program. The UC Davis alum has no NFL playing experience, with only rookie minicamp tryouts with the Raiders and Indianapolis Colts last year to his credit.

The free agent well is virtually dry. Brad Wing the only active punter who had a job last year left on the street. He was analytics site Pro Football Focus’ lowest-rated punter a year ago.

There are more options in the NFL Draft, some with vast potential. The Raiders have a glut of later-round selections, including two in the fifth round and four more in the sixth.

The Raiders could certainly find some quality with those picks, and pay far less for a punter than King might’ve cost. The Raiders are right up against the NFL salary cap, and needed to create space for their roster overhaul. They also must budget for paying their draft class, meaning a few more veterans might get cut in coming weeks.

Texas’ Michael Dickson is NFL.com’s highest-rated punter in the draft – he also won 2017’s Ray Guy award -- and the site suggests he could be had in the fourth round. That seems a smidge high, though Alabama’s JK Scott is well reviewed, with a fifth-round departure expected. Bowling Green’s Joseph Davidson and Florida’s Johnny Townsend are rated high.

The Raiders signed King as an undrafted free agent, seeing great potential and Shane Lechler’s heir apparent.

The Raiders didn’t blindly make this move, and clearly have someone in mind to take King’s spot.

Raiders specialists will have a new look this year, with Andrew DePaola replacing long-time long snapper Jon Condo. Giorgio Tavecchio also retained Sebastian Janikowski’s job as Raiders kicker, one just before 2017 and held all year.

Raiders release punter Marquette King

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USATSI

Raiders release punter Marquette King

The Raiders have cut punter Marquette King. The surprise move was announced on Friday afternoon, making one of the league’s best an unrestricted free agent.

The transaction will save $2.9 million in salary cap space for a team up against the NFL’s spending threshold.

This move, however, wasn’t all about money.

King has a unique personality, one that may have potentially clashed with new head coach Jon Gruden and/or special teams coach Rich Bisaccia. A league source indicated that, and an above-average price tag, had an impact in King’s release. The transaction was motivated by new coaches on staff. 

King had three years left on a contract extension signed in the 2016 offseason, and was set to make roughly $3 million per season.

He was told of his release on Friday. There will be a market for his services, even at this late stage of free agency.

King is immensely popular within Raider Nation and across the league, and has a powerful social-media presence. He often celebrates lavishly after a quality performance, and has been penalized for on-field antics. He once threw a penalty flag back at an official, and got into it with Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. He also posed for a picture with Aqib Talib holding a chain during the 2017 Pro Bowl, playfully jabbing Michael Crabtree's conflict with the then-Denver defensive back. That was not well received by some in the Raiders locker room. 

While incidents like that may rub some the wrong way, there’s no doubting King’s talent. He was a second-team All-Pro in 2016, and has 41.1-yard net average. He excels at pinning opponents deep, with a knack for placing punts inside the 20-yard like. Last season, he had 28 punts downed inside the 20, with just six touchbacks.

King was also the team’s holder.

Colby Wadman is now the only punter on the Raiders roster.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates…