It appears the dismantling of the Las Vegas Raiders’ offensive line is finishing up. Trent Brown was traded weeks ago, Rodney Hudson was traded on Wednesday and a now final decision has been made on Gabe Jackson. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Raiders are trading Jackson to the Seattle Seahawks for a fifth-round pick in this year’s draft.
This is good news for Las Vegas as NFL insider Josina Anderson previously reported on March 3 that the club was planning to outright release the veteran.
One of only two players left from the excellent 2014 draft class, along with Derek Carr, Jackson has been one of the most consistent players for the Raiders over the years. Since being selected in the third round in 2014, he has never finished lower than 19th among 66-70 qualified guards in Pro Football Focus‘ pass blocking evaluations. In his first two seasons at left guard, Jackson actually finished as PFF’s eighth-best pass blocker.
For Seattle, this move makes a ton of sense. Russell Wilson has been open about the fact that he wants better protection. Jackson will certainly be an upgrade over what they have. A fifth-round pick is a small price to pay for a seven-year starter with a strong track record.
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Raiders Were Ready to Play Hardball With Jackson
The Raiders have been on a mission to save some money this offseason. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the salary cap dropped from $198.2 million last season to $182.5 million this year and the team has had to make a lot of sacrifices because of it. However, the team was trying to keep their offensive line somewhat intact. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders were willing to hold onto Jackson and Brown until they took a pay cut:
Jackson took one for the team and played with a bad knee for 11 games in the 2019 season. He started all 16 games last season and balked at the Raiders asking him to take a pay cut from $9.6 million to $5 million, per sources. If the Raiders weren’t able to trade him, they were planning to keep him until training camp and try to force him to restructure (since other teams’ free-agent money would be spent) — it was the same threat they used with left tackle Trent Brown before the Patriots traded for him last week.
It’s fortunate that they got deals done for both players as things could’ve gotten somewhat ugly. The Raiders had the most expensive offensive line in the NFL over the last two seasons. They’ll now likely have one of the cheapest units in 2021.
Raiders Miss out on Kyle Long
One reason losing out on Jackson was somewhat easy to swallow for Raiders fans was the fact that Kyle Long, son of Hall of Famer Howie Long, came out of retirement and met with the team for his first free agent visit. It looked like he was probably going to sign with his dad’s former team. That didn’t end up happening as Long elected to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Obviously, having a member of the Long family sign with the enemy will be a tough pill to swallow for many but it’s not that big of a deal. There’s no indication that after a year away from football he’d be a major upgrade over Richie Incognito or Denzelle Good. Additionally, Long hasn’t played more than 10 games in a single season since 2015. He’s a good player, but the Raiders are better off not investing that money into someone who has struggled to stay healthy over the course of a full 16-game season.