In the eyes of at least one Oakland Raiders player, it may be getting close to time to call the fight. When the team brought Jon Gruden back and owner Mark Davis handed him a monster deal rumored to be worth $100 million, expectations were high. But even a mediocre season with flashes of upside would have left fans optimistic and excited about the future.
And here we are nearing the midway point of the 2018 NFL season and the Raiders sit at 1-6. Not only is Oakland arguably the most disappointing team in the league, but they no longer have two players who were considered key pieces of their future less than a season ago. Gruden came in and shipped out Khalil Mack and then sent Amari Cooper packing.
But for some players, it’s not even the fact that the trades happened, it’s about how they happened. In an eye-opening article from The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, multiple Raiders spoke (with anonymity) about the season and specifically the trades. While quite a few things were said, one truly stood out.
“The Mack trade was a real stiff jab,” another [player] said. “But the Cooper one was like a knockout punch, especially because we had just walked back in the door from the bye. We didn’t want to believe it was coming, and Coach said we weren’t going to trade him.”
Issues Go Beyond Just Trades
The final eight words of that quote are what stand out the most, and it’s a statement which has weighed heavily in the minds of the fanbase.
“Coach said we weren’t going to trade him.”
Gruden said the Raiders weren’t going to trade Cooper. He was openly asked about shopping the receiver and as Matt Schneidman of the Bay Area News Group revealed, strongly stated: “I’m not.”
Gruden told fans before the season he’d get Mack back in the building and ready for the year. That changed as Week 1 finally rolled around, and suddenly the crazy thought of the Raiders trading one of the NFL’s best defensive players became a reality.
Now everyone wants to know what’s next. Will it be Derek Carr? Gareon Conley? It seems the players are a bit fed up with how Gruden era No. 2 has started, and the man known as ‘Chucky’ may just be getting started.