Right before the Raiders take the practice field on Tuesday, head coach Jon Gruden spoke to the media about a number of matters. One of the main things that stuck out was Gruden’s comments about the players that only have one year left on their contracts.
Starting center Rodney Hudson is the biggest name that’s entering his final season under contract. Hudson has consistently been a dominant force in the middle of the offensive line for the Raiders. When the team signed him back in 2015, they made him the highest paid center in NFL history. He hasn’t disappointed.
“He’s a great player on the field, he’s one of our captains and team leaders,” said Gruden when asked about Hudson. “He’s one of the toughest guy’s we have, I’ve seen him play with kidney stones and various ailments.”
Gruden also commented on Hudson’s contract situation:
“I know Mike Mayock has talked to his agent. I don’t want to get involved in the specifics of those conversations, but we consider him a big piece of this franchise and we’re gonna do everything we can to keep him here for a long time.”
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Hudson will only be 30 when the season starts so he should have several more good years left in the tank. Gruden was also asked about safety Karl Joseph, who was declined a fifth-year option and will be a free agent at the end of the season.
“[Joseph] has responded good. He had all the rookies at his house,” said Gruden. “He’s quietly become a leader on this team. You already mentioned Rodney Hudson and his last year. I heard Burfict is in a one year deal. I just hope I live one more year. We’re trying to worry about this team, this week, we got a lot of adversity we’re facing right now with this team. We got a lot of distractions.”
Gruden seems eager to regulate contract talks to his general manager Mike Mayock. Gruden wants his focus to be on the football field with a possible appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks looming. Joseph took the podium after Gruden and was asked about the team declining his fifth-year option.
“I spoke with coach Gruden and Mr. Mayock and told them that I want to be here, I want to be a Raider,” said Joseph. “At the end of the day, I gotta handle my business, take care of my job and be better.”
Joseph improved last season and was rated the best defender on the Oakland Raiders by Pro Football Focus. If he can improve on that performance, he could very well see himself getting a nice payday when the season ends. Gruden didn’t address in detail the one-year deals of linebacker Vontaze Burfict or guard Richie Incognito, but if they play well, he’ll probably have to talk about it eventually.