The difference between Oakland's Raiders and Jon Gruden's Raiders

Ray Ratto
NBC Sports BayArea

So it is agreed that Jon Gruden voted his stock and decided that the Oakland Raiders need to be torn down and rebuilt in time for the grand Las Vegas opening. The entirety of his preparatory first offseason says so, and his logic is at least unassailable in one key area.
If the Raiders were fine as is, if the goal was to leave while not having the Oakland fan base feeling betrayed and angry, Mark Davis wouldn't have committed 10 years and $100 million to him.
So there is no honeymoon for Gruden and no going away party for Oakland. That's the deal, and Gruden is fine with it.
Put another way, the Raiders are two entirely different things now, in a business where it's hard enough being one.
They are Oakland's Raiders, kind of, but more, they are Jon Gruden's Raiders, and their interests do not coincide. Oakland's Raiders wanted one more shot as a brass ring in these next two seasons, even if it wasn't necessarily a Super Bowl. Jon Gruden's Raiders are clearly not in a position to do that, not right away. He traded the present they had for a future Oakland will not see.
Gruden runs this team now, and he didn't promise Oakland anything, football-wise.
Based on that, Gruden's decision (and it was his, period, and no attempt to use Reggie McKenzie as a shield will be taken seriously) to trade Khalil Mack makes perfect sense, as long as you're willing to assume that the current Raiders are nothing like what Gruden wants the Raiders to be.
That process will take a minimum of three years, because that's how rebuilds go. That might have played better were the franchise not leaving one city for another, but Gruden's world is a bubble made entirely of football, and one meeting room and one practice field is pretty much like any other.
And that's the real disconnect here, rather than Mack being traded for a nebulous future. Oakland is on one last two-year deal; Gruden's working on a decade.
Also, Gruden the coach was outvoted by Gruden the general manager – that is, if you believe Gruden the coach could have lived with Mack as a holdout, which his temperament suggests was a longshot at best. Mack is a great player whom Gruden the coach could have lived with cheerily for the next three to five years, but Gruden the general manager could only see a luxury he didn't want to afford.
So let's ignore what he did or didn't say in his Sunday presser. In the long run, actions are what pay, and this offseason as a whole showed conclusively that the Oakland Raiders lost in a rout to the Jon Gruden Raiders, which we knew was the only possible result for two reasons alone.
Oakland is no longer where Mark Davis does business, and Gruden is. That, and 10 years is longer than two. How it ends is anyone's guess. How it's going right now is poorly.

Scroll to continue with content

What to Read Next