In a somewhat surprising move, the Oakland Raiders have decided to move on from longtime starting defensive tackle, Justin Ellis, per NBCS’ Scott Bair.
As Bair notes, this would leave Derek Carr and Gabe Jackosn as the only remaining players from the 2014 Draft Class on the Raiders roster. That draft class was monumental in helping turn Oakland from the laughing stock of the NFL to an actually competitive franchise. Ellis had been a mainstay along the Raider defensive line for quite some time, but he’s been battling injuries since early last season. His injury woes continued as he was placed on injured reserve prior to the season’s start.
With Johnathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst coming on strong and the Raiders having plenty of talented backups, there wasn’t really any room left for Ellis. He’s reached some sort of settlement, so he should have some money to get by before another team picks him up. Ellis signed a three-year extension at the beginning of the Gruden era. He was likely let go because the team doesn’t want to wait for him to return. “Jelly” is still young. He should have plenty of suitors once he gets healthy again.
He had 119 combined tackles for the Raiders and was known as one of their go-to run stoppers.
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Busy Bye Week for Raiders
It’s only been a couple of days into the bye week and the Raiders have already made several moves. It started with the signing of Nevin Lawson and then the trade for Zay Adams. They also have been trying out defensive ends to try and replace the injured Arden Key. Jon Gruden and company clearly aren’t content to stay put after their impressive start. At 3-2 and squarely in second place in the AFC West, the Raiders have a real shot at making the playoffs.
Oakland is in the middle of their brutal road stretch where they won’t play in their home stadium for five games. So far, the team is 2-1 in three of the five games. That’s not a bad start. They have a really tough test against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5 and another brutal game against a strong Houston Texans team. If the Raiders can win one of those road games, they’ll have a real shot at the playoffs as their schedule eases up considerably.
The Raiders’ Road to the Playoffs
The season is far from over, but things could be looking good for the Raiders going forward. After Week 9’s game against the Detriot Lions, Oakland only has one game against a team with a winning record as it currently stands. They have favorable matchups against bad Bengals, Broncos, Jets and Titans team. The Los Angeles Chargers are banged up and the Raiders have two games against them. Usually, Oakland should be good for one win against them. That would put them at eight wins if they don’t blow any of those games. Now, if they can pull off a couple of wins versus the teams with winning records, which they’ve shown that they can do, the Raiders could find themselves in the playoffs for only the second time since 2002.