It’s not often that a player who is drafted by a team in the first three rounds is traded before he ever plays a game. Well, it happened to Las Vegas Raiders running back Lynn Bowden Jr., who was traded to the Miami Dolphins along with a sixth-round pick for a fourth-round pick. It was a big surprise as many expected to Bowden to play a unique role for the team.
He first reacted to the news that he was traded by tweeting a dolphin emoji.
— Lynn Bowden Jr (@LynnBowden_1) September 5, 2020
He then started to get a little more cryptic and suggested there was misinformation about him spreading.
Don’t believe everything you read lol I stepped outside of my home twice if that 😁 on to a new journey let’s rock 💪🏽
— Lynn Bowden Jr (@LynnBowden_1) September 6, 2020
The trade also led to people digging up some recent tweets from Bowden that foreshadowed the move.
How Lynn Bowden Jr’s week went according to his tweets: pic.twitter.com/NZEDH7ePNX
— Paloma Villicana FOX5 (@PalomaVillicana) September 5, 2020
— Raider Cody (@RaiderCody) September 5, 2020
Insider Reveals Why Raiders Made Trade
The decision to give up on Bowden before he ever played a game was a surprise, to say the least. With limited access to training camp this year, it wasn’t clear just how much he was struggling. However, after the trade went through, insiders started to reveal some information. Vic Tafur of The Athletic dropped some pretty damning information on Bowden:
Bowden really struggled at training camp, but that can’t be the whole story. And it isn’t.
Some at the team facility thought the rookie was more concerned with picking up new cars than the playbook, and on the field Bowden looked measured and not explosive. On top of a lack of breakaway speed, he was always getting blasted when it was his turn to pass block.
There were also some growing concerns that he was getting more and more distracted in Las Vegas and that he might be an influence on other rookies like Henry Ruggs III and Damon Arnette.
Tafur also revealed that the Raiders weren’t too excited about Bowden being at a house that the DEA raided back in June. The running back’s cryptic tweet earlier is probably referencing Tafur’s story. While he seems to be suggesting that the story isn’t true, the Raiders wouldn’t have traded him if it wasn’t.
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Trade Was Both Bad & Good
General manager Mike Mayock and head coach Jon Gruden do deserve credit for cutting their losses early and weathering the embarrassment of trading a highly drafted player before playing a game. It’s a move that many wouldn’t have made just for the sake of saving face. However, that doesn’t mean that isn’t a bad look for the team.
If Bowden had character concerns, why didn’t they know this before drafting him? The Raiders waxed poetic about how they are trying to bring in high character rookies because of the temptations of Las Vegas. Now, the fact that COVID-19 caused the offseason to be very different can’t be ignored. The Raiders weren’t able to get as hands-on with incoming rookies.
There are plenty of excuses built-in for Gruden and Mayock but this was a huge whiff. There will probably be a number of players taken after Bowden that will end up being much better. The third round hasn’t been kind to the Raiders. Hopefully, this is just a blip and not an example of what’s to come.