Raiders Predicted to Cut 17-Game Starter From Last Season

josh mcdaniels

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.

It’s turning into a stressful part of the year for Alex Leatherwood. The 2021 first-round pick is already on the chopping block after just one season with the Las Vegas Raiders. He started the season as the right tackle for the team but was eventually moved to guard.

The new coaching staff decided to move him back to tackle and have yet to give him a chance at guard. He’s struggled mightily in training camp and preseason games. Things have gotten so bad that the Raiders are considering trading Leatherwood, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. If a trade doesn’t materialize, the team might even consider cutting. That’s exactly what Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report is predicting:

Without any sign of Leatherwood moving back inside, Vegas may cut its losses and move on with $21.6 million in cap space still left to patch up other areas of the roster before Week 1.

Only in his second year, Leatherwood will more than likely get another chance to reinvent himself elsewhere as a tackle or guard.

The Chicago Bears, who just moved second-year offensive lineman Teven Jenkins from tackle to guard, may take a flier on Leatherwood because of his collegiate dominance on the perimeter. At Alabama, the latter won the 2020 Outland Trophy as a standout junior left tackle.

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Why Raiders Should Hold Onto Leatherwood

New general manager Dave Ziegler had nothing to do with the Raiders drafting Leatherwood in the first round last year. He has no reason to hold onto a bad draft pick he didn’t make. That said, cutting Leatherwood outright doesn’t make much sense. He would have a dead money hit of $11.8 million this season, $8.5 million the next season and $1.9 in 2024. That’s a steep price to pay just to get off of a player who isn’t causing issues off the field.

By all accounts, Leathwood is a hard worker and doesn’t cause distractions. He’s just having a hard time figuring out how to be consistent on the field. A lot of his issues appear to be mental, which is something the Raiders can work with. Perhaps having him be a backup this season and giving him another chance to start next year could be the best thing for him. Regardless, it makes little sense to cut a young player who carries so much dead money.

Will Raiders Make a Move at RT?

Brandon Parker is out for the season and Thayer Munford is injured right now. The Raiders appear set to start Jermaine Eluemunor at right tackle but that situation may be fluid. As other teams finish up roster cuts, more players will become available. It’s possible that the Raiders are eyeing other right tackles.

Eluemunor is a solid veteran and is familiar with Josh McDaniels’ offense but has limited upside. The team may want to upgrade the position. The Raiders have done little work on the offensive line this offseason but that could change in the coming days.

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