After months of waiting to get him back on the field, the Las Vegas Raiders will be without Trent Brown once again on Sunday. He was able to play in the last three games but is now dealing with a knee injury. This news means that Brown’s season is over and should go into the offseason with a level of uncertainty.
Head coach Jon Gruden is clearly frustrated with how the season has gone for his highest-paid player.
“It’s disappointing, no doubt,” Gruden said of Brown struggling to stay on the field this season. “We brought him in here and paid him to be the LeBron James of right tackles, and he’s had a lot of adversity. He’s had a number of injuries and it’s hurt our football team, no doubt. But that’s part of this business.”
Gruden went onto reveal that Sam Young will start in Brown’s place but appeared to drop a hint on what the team plans to do with the star right tackle.
“We’ll play the next man up but hope to get Trent back and ready to roll for next season,” Gruden said. “Trent’s a great player. … He’s just got to get healthy and stay healthy.”
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Did Gruden Confirm Brown Will Return Next Season?
With the year that Brown has had, there’s been speculation that the Raiders might move on from him this offseason. They’ve already paid him his guaranteed money so they can let him go without a penalty. While they could save a big chunk of change by letting him go, Gruden’s comments make it sound like they have plans for Brown next season.
They gave him all that money for a reason. When Brown is healthy, he’s arguably the best right tackle in the NFL. He’s still an elite player, he just can’t stay healthy. Tom Cable has done an excellent job coaching up offensive linemen but it’s obvious that Brown brings a lot to the offense. Plus, his cap hit is a lot smaller next season. According to Spotrac, his 2020 salary is north of $21 million while next year’s salary is slightly less than $14 million.
Should Raiders Keep Brown for Another Season?
The decision to pay Brown or cut him loose will be a very important one this offseason. If he can play in at least 13 or 14 games, he’s definitely worth the $14 million cap hit. However, if he misses over half the season again, it’s a huge waste of money that could be used towards fixing the defense.
Despite that risk, the Raiders should consider keeping him if they believe he’ll be healthy for next season. He’s just too good and there’s no indication that the team has his long-term replacement on the roster. Brandon Parker had a couple of solid performances in relief but he’s still inconsistent and not even close to as impactful as Brown. Extra cap space is nice but there are other ways the Raiders can make room without creating a need on offense.