Little-Known NFL Rule Is Negatively Impacting Raiders Offseason

antonio pierce

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce.

Antonio Pierce is in his first offseason as an NFL head coach but isn’t going to be afforded the same luxuries that other first-time head coaches get. Pierce was first given the head coaching job during last season after the Las Vegas Raiders fired Josh McDaniels.

He ended up coaching nine games before the team decided to promote him to the full-time position in the offseason. There were seven other teams in the NFL this offseason to make head coaching changes and all of those teams have been able to start their offseason program.

The NFL lets new head coaches get an early start due to the fact that they have more work to do. However, the Raiders have yet to start their offseason program and that’s due to a little-known NFL rule, per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

“It turns out there’s a rule—that at least I didn’t know about—biting the Raiders here,” Breer wrote in an April 9 column. “Under the NFL and NFLPA’s agreement, if a head coach was interim coach for more than two games, then he and his staff are ineligible for the added time and extra minicamp in their first offseason with the team. Antonio Pierce, having coached nine games, was way over that threshold. So the Raiders, under Pierce, will start next Monday.”

Pierce has an almost entirely new coaching staff on offense and several new coaches on defense. There’s also a new front office in place. It seems odd that the Raiders wouldn’t be afforded the same luxuries as other teams with new coaches but Pierce has been with the team for two years so the learning curve shouldn’t be as steep.

Las Vegas Raiders’ Silver Lining

While the Raiders won’t be able to get a head start on the offseason, it may not even matter. Antonio Pierce has previously stated that at least 30 players have been at the team’s facility daily working on football.

According to Albert Breer, that should help alleviate the disadvantage the NFL’s rules have put on the Raiders.

“The silver lining here is that the number of players who have voluntarily come in to work out at the facility over the last few weeks has been very healthy, and that helps mitigate anything lost without that built-in advantage,” Breer wrote. “You can chalk at least part of that up, of course, to guys wanting to be in Vegas, or living there full-time, in the offseason.”

It’s a good sign for the Raiders that players are volunteering to work at the facility when they aren’t mandated to.

Las Vegas Raiders Players Are Motivated

Many Raiders players were very vocal about Antonio Pierce becoming the full-time head coach this offseason. They got their wish but haven’t taken their foot off the gas once he was given the job. It’s clear that the players are heavily motivated to play hard under Pierce.

Running an offseason will be new for Pierce but having his players eager to work will only make things easier for him. The Raiders still have many openings on the roster so it remains to be seen how new players will adapt to the culture but returning players are ready for the 2024 season to start already.

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