With Training Camp closing in, the Oakland Raiders will start getting an idea of what players are in the long term plans and which ones aren’t. The Raiders added a lot of talent in the offseason and that means a lot of veterans of the team could be on the chopping block. Even some of the new guys could get the ax before the season starts. Like it or not, the team is going to have to cut down to a 53-player roster when the season rolls around. That means that there will likely be some fan favorites that aren’t wearing silver and black in 2019. Below we’re going to go through some of the bigger names on the roster that could get the pink slip.
The addition of recently retired guard Richie Incognito was met with mixed reaction. On one hand, it solved a huge need for the team. On the other hand, the optics of the signing weren’t great considering Incognito’s past controversies. Regardless, the Raiders knew what they were getting into before they signed him and likely won’t cut him for prior sins unless a bombshell report comes out. The reason Incognito could get cut by the season’s start is that he’s been out of football for a year. He retired after the 2017 season and is likely rusty. However, a year off may have also helped Incognito work out some of his issues and he’ll come back with a vengeance. We won’t have an idea of how he looks until training camp is here. Both Denzelle Good and Denver Kirkland, Incognito’s competition at guard, were absent for many of the team’s offseason practices. In their absence, Incognito was the one taking all the first-team snaps. Good and Kirkland don’t have great track records so Incognito will have a strong chance to stay on the roster. However, it’s impossible to know until we see how his mind and body hold up. Gruden won’t hesitate to cut him if he starts bringing bad press into Oakland.
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Running back Doug Martin is entering his second year with the Raiders. Martin came on strong for the team after Marshawn Lynch got injured early in the season. He put up a respectable 723 rushing yards on 4.2 yards a carry. While those numbers aren’t bad, Martin has been incredibly inconsistent in his career. One year he’ll put numbers that make it seem that he’s one of the top running backs in the league. The next year, he’ll put up mediocre numbers. It’s hard for the Raiders to know which Doug Maring they’ll get in 2019. Plus, the addition of first-round pick running back Josh Jacobs will certainly limit Martin’s carries. Jalen Richard is still young and explosive and Chris Warren III turned heads during the 2018 preseason before he was injured. Odds are, the Raiders will only keep three running backs. Time will tell which ones they decide to keep, but don’t be surprised if Warren III and Richard beat out Martin.
Justin “Jelly” Ellis has been a staple in the middle of the Raiders’ defensive line for years now. While he hasn’t exactly lit up the stat sheet, he’s been a solid defender his whole careers. The only reason he could get the ax is because the Raiders have some young talent on the defensive line and he could see his role diminish. The Raiders may give him a chance to be an impact player on another team. Ellis also missed most of the 2018 season with a foot injury. The team may not want to risk having him on the roster and see him get hurt again. Ellis is only 28-years old and should still have plenty left in the tank, but P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst look to improve in their second years. Plus, third-year defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes is coming back after missing a year due to injury, which head coach Jon Gruden already said he was excited about. It could be that Ellis just doesn’t have a role on this team going forward. Regardless, the Raiders could keep him and he would bring solid depth to the defensive line. His spot will most likely depend on how good the young guys look in training camp and the preseason. The team did pick up his team-option earlier this year, but that doesn’t mean they still can’t cut him.