The Las Vegas Raiders have made a tough call by deciding to move on from running back Kenyan Drake. If the team ends up cutting him, he’ll only save the team $250,000 in salary cap space. Drake is a good player but his signing was odd when the team made it last year. They already had a starting running back in Josh Jacobs so it made little sense to give a backup $11 million guaranteed.
The new regime wasn’t concerned about bad contracts that Jon Gruden gave players. Other running backs emerged in training camp so it was going to be difficult to justify keeping Drake. He was a good teammate during his short time in Las Vegas and really embraced the Raiders brand. He had a chance to discuss the decision for the team to move on and made it clear that he has no hard feelings.
“I’m just vibing at the crib right now. I’m just waiting on the next 24 hours,” Drake told CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson. “I don’t think anyone would trade for me just because of the contract situation, either way Raiders have to pay me. I’m at peace with the decision. Honestly, I felt like the writing has been on the wall recently–like within the last two to three weeks. I never felt like I had a fair shot to really compete for the job coming off the injury. At the end of the day that’s business. … I feel like as time progressed through camp there really wasn’t a role for me to have anymore because they had guys that they brought in, they traded for & I was kind of odd man out, especially coming off my injury. Other than that, I’m at peace with it because I know my capabilities as a player and I know people are going to use me how I definitely feel like I need to be used, because I’m a playmaker.”
Drake was then asked what kind of scheme he would fit best in.
“Personally, I feel like I can fit in any type of scheme,” Drake said. “I proved to be a first and second-down back in Arizona; and through my entire career I’ve proved I can be versatile out the backfield catching passes … in special teams. … I’m a professional, at the end of the day I love ball. … I don’t think it really matters where, as long as they give me the opportunity to go in and compete. I got a lot of tread on my tires.”
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Drake Reveals What GM Dave Ziegler Told Him
Cutting Drake couldn’t have been an easy call for general manager Dave Ziegler. If they can’t find a trade partner, he’ll leave the team with a $3.6 million dead cap hit. There’s little benefit to cutting him other than opening up a roster spot for another player. Drake revealed that Ziegler called him personally to tell him of the team’s decision.
“He let me know how they were planning on moving forward, how really uncustomary it was for him to tell me himself, and that was just a testament to the respect he has for me as a player, and as a man,” Drake told the Associated Press.
Drake still believes he can be an effective player but understood why the Raiders decided to make the move.
“They had their guys. I mean, they drafted two running backs, they brought in two other running backs, all who I have admiration for. I have respect for their game. So I have nothing bad to say about the organization with how they decided to move,” Drake said. “I’ve been around this game for a while now, and I could just see myself being the odd man out. I feel like it just presents an opportunity for me to go to another team and continue to be the playmaker that I’ve always been.”
Who Replaces Drake?
Drake is capable of rushing the ball well but he’s made his biggest impact in the passing game. Josh Jacobs and Zamir White are mostly known as rushers so they weren’t the ones who beat out Drake. The most likely player is Ameer Abdullah. The veteran running back has put together a very strong training camp. It was clear that he was beating out Drake when he didn’t have to travel with the team for their preseason game with the Miami Dolphins.
A lot can still happen in training camp but it looks like Abdullah has secured his spot on the roster.
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Good luck to Drake where ever he goes. I’m glad the Raiders released him early if they were going to release him anyways. Now he has a great chance to sign on with another team. Once a Raider, always a Raider.