This is no secret.
It hasn’t been since the day Jon Gruden signed a $100 million deal to coach the Oakland Raiders.
But to hear new Raiders general manager Mike Mayock admit out loud that Gruden is the team’s de facto general manager is a bit jarring.
Mayock says Gruden will make personnel calls
Mayock – a former NFL Network analyst who was hired as general manager last week for his first NFL front-office role – spoke with ESPN on Monday at Levi’s Field while scouting players at the College Football Playoff National Championship.
“In all honesty, Jon’s got final say, if it ever comes to that. And I’ve got zero problems with that,” Mayock said about personnel decisions.
What would you say you do here?
So if Gruden is making the personnel decisions, what exactly is Mayock’s job?
It appears to entail arguing with Gruden and knowing what a Raider “smells like.”
“Now, having said that, I think we’re going to come to a consensus and I like a little yelling, a little screaming, a little fighting for what players you believe in,” Mayock continued. “But at the end of the day, I guarantee you, Jon Gruden and I are going to know what a Raider looks like and smells like. I don’t think we’re going to have any issues.”
No room for strong GM with Raiders
The template for the power dynamic with the Raiders was set prior to Mayock’s arrival. Former general manager Reggie McKenzie was run out of town shortly after the core of the team he put together was dismantled upon Gruden’s arrival.
When the Raiders hired a TV analyst who had never held a front-office job to replace McKenzie, it came as no surprise. There’s no place for a strong general manager in Oakland – or San Francisco, or San Diego – wherever the Raiders play football next season.
Big offseason ahead
The stakes will be high for the Raiders this spring when they take their first-round pick along with those of the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys into the NFL draft.
With the cap space cleared up by the jettisoning of talent in Oakland, pressure will mount on the Raiders’ free-agency decisions, as well.
Mayock has all but cleared up who will deserve the credit or the blame on the outcome of those massive decisions.
How he fits in in the long run is yet to be seen.
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