Jon Gruden and the Oakland Raiders have decided to embrace the tank. The team opted to cut defensive end Bruce Irvin on Saturday, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic.
In eight games this season, the 31-year-old Irvin has six tackles. He’s accounted for three of the Raiders’ seven sacks, leading the team.
Irvin thanked the Raiders for being a part of his NFL journey.
The move continues the trend of the Raiders parting ways with talented players this season. Pass rusher Khalil Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears just before Week 1. First-round wideout Amari Cooper was sent to the Dallas Cowboys during Oakland’s bye.
Mack seemed to take notice of Irvin getting cut. He sent out a cryptic tweet moments after the news broke.
— Khalil Mack (@52Mack_) November 3, 2018
The decision to cut Irvin may come as a surprise considering the trade deadline just passed. If the team wanted to move on, it could have dealt him at the deadline. And if it couldn’t find a taker, Oakland could have just released Irvin once the deadline passed Tuesday. Instead, Oakland kept him until Saturday.
Because of that, it’s possible Thursday’s blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers had something to do with the move. The Raiders were embarrassed on “Thursday Night Football,” losing the contest 34-3. The loss dropped the Raiders to 1-7.
To make matters worse, the blowout came against the 49ers’ third-string quarterback. Nick Mullens looked like the next Tom Brady against a porous Oakland defense.
The Raiders played so poorly that perhaps Gruden thought it was once again time to shake things up. Irvin — who was one of the team’s co-captains — wound up paying the price.
Ultimately, this could end up being a good thing for Irvin. If a team is willing to take on Irvin’s remaining $4 million salary, he could be claimed on waivers. If not, he would become an unrestricted free agent, and would be able to sign with any team.
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