Jon Gruden didn’t waste much time making a splash after becoming the Oakland Raiders head coach this offseason. He quickly shipped Pro Bowl linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears in exchange for first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a third-round pick in 2020, and a sixth-rounder in 2019.
It doesn’t look like Gruden is anywhere near finished, because he’s also considering trades for former first-round picks wide receiver Amari Cooper and safety Karl Joseph.
Here’s what’s FOX’s Jay Glazer has to say on the issue:
“They already traded Khalil Mack. Very controversial. Now they are looking to shop Karl Joseph, their first round pick from two years ago.
“[They] called all around the league on him. And another name they are calling around on, but not as much, but still, they are shopping him, is Amari Cooper, their first round wide receiver. So, fire sale in Oakland.”
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) October 14, 2018
The Raiders Appear Willing to Trade Anybody
Oakland is only two years removed from a 12-4 season, where they might have made some noise in the playoffs had starting quarterback Derek Carr not gotten hurt. But following a 6-10 campaign last year and the notable hiring of Gruden, the team is obviously headed in a new direction.
That said, Oakland isn’t above trading anybody on their roster this point. They’ve already shipped off the best player on the team and are now in talks to move two more former first rounders.
This would leave cornerback Gareon Conley and offensive lineman Kolten Miller as the only remaining Raiders’ first-round picks on the team. Oakland selected Conley and Miller as their top choices in 2016 and ’17.
Of course, this was under different management. So don’t be surprised to see the Raiders continue making trades throughout the season.
Is Oakland Tanking?
This is especially the case when considering that Oakland has already secured at least one win, meaning they can tank and avoid joining Cleveland and Detroit as the only teams to go 0-16.
Gruden has time on his side and doesn’t seem to be trying overly hard to win right now. This has brought on allegations that he’s tanking in order to secure more high draft picks in the coming spring.
Reggie McKenzie may be the general manager, but NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports that Gruden is actually the brains behind roster moves. This would make sense when considering that Mack was suddenly traded for less than his market value.
Gruden denies that his team is tanking, even going so far as to tell his players this in a team meeting. However, Rapoport suggests that the players aren’t buying this and they expect “major roster upheaval in the next couple years.”
Rapoport also reports that Gruden thinks it will take up to two years to get the players he wants on his team. Considering that Oakland will be moving to Las Vegas within a couple of years, the entire organization may be onboard with building a winner for the future, rather than now.