Today marks the official start of the entire 2018 NFL Season, the 99th National Football League Season. And this NFL Season already has a number of important plot twists. Formost, among them, the Oakland Raiders trade of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. A trade that still has many, including this vlogger, scratching their heads.
I don’t care what the Oakland Raiders say, the fact is, the wreckless spending by the organization on the Las Vegas relocation and the $100 million guaranteed contract for Jon Gruden to return to the NFL and the Raiders as Head Coach, effectively killed the team’s ability to sign quality, high-dollar free agents. But what’s weird is how the Silver and Black tried to go and craft a free agent deal to land star defensive end Ndamukong Suh, a Miami Dolphins free agent.
Remember how the Raiders went after Suh? Raider Nation tracked every move of the man who was one of only a handful of college defensive players named as runners-up for pr winners of the Heisman Trophy. The collective Raider Nation rallying cry was “Don’t let Suh out of the building,” after several social media entries reported that he was at Raiders Headquarters in Alameda. But, as it turns out (and a great article by the LA Times Gary Klein reveals ), Suh had visited with the Los Angeles Rams, and between his relationship with the Rams coach Ted Rath, and an epic dinner at Nobu where James Corden just happened to be in the room, Ndamukong cancelled his trip to Oakland, and became an L.A. Rams player.
Suh signed for one year and $14 million; the Raiders were set to pay Khalil Mack at least that much, and were facing a kind of fiscal arms race for top pass rushers. With that, it begs the question: why would the Raiders entertain spending money to hire Ndamukong Suh, but not even give a signal that they were ready to meet Mack at least half way with some kind of proposal?
Answers, or the lack of them, aside, the simple existence of this kind of confusing set of mixed messages on personnel plans with the eventual Mack trade to Chicago, and then the revelation that the Raiders never made any new offer to Khalil beyond what they reportedly sent in February, and all that after trying to land Suh, point to what has to be some kind of clash of ideas between one group or person and the other group or person at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway.
My speculation is then then-newly-hired Jon Gruden wanted Suh, but eventually had to deal with the lack of money available to him to do deals because of the Las Vegas effort, other player spending plans, and the Oakland Raiders rather inflexible and unimaginative approach to deal-making (something that contrasts the Raiders when Amy Trask was CEO).
Now, Gruden has to change his plans on the fly as he gets more familiar with the Mark Davis-created Oakland Raiders financial position simply by running his head into it via his decisions. That’s the only way to explain the confusing contrast between trying to sign Suh and trading Khalil Mack. It’s not a good way to run a multi-billion-dollar NFL organization, but it’s the way Mark Davis is running this multi-billion-dollar NFL organization. Makes one wonder what’s next.
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