The raiders realist
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

FSM Presents: The Raiders Realist – Hudson Hawked

Franchise Sports Media

 

“Take it light, but take it.”–Avon Barksdale, The Wire

 

The Raiders Realist
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The thing about pain is, if you endure it enough, you build up a tolerance to its effects. The Las Vegas Raiders will subject you to an irrational level of pain if you are a fan. Today’s news is yet another example of that reality. The franchise just released Rodney Hudson, the best player on the team, the most professional person to wear the Silver and Black in years, and the anchor of the offensive line.

You can provide me a number of reasons and rationale for this decision, but the fact is, it is dumb. Period. It is a dumb move. Not necessarily because Andre James, the center in waiting now, might not be a capable starting offensive lineman in the NFL. That is immaterial. No, the timing of this doesn’t seem right; anyway, you try and slice it.

First off, because Hudson’s cap hit literally means it is cheaper to keep him on the team than it would have been to release him, that is problem one. Early scuttlebutt (I cannot confirm it, so I will not report it as gospel) is that Hudson requested his release, and the franchise granted it.

 

On the surface, seems like the classy thing to do. I would normally be okay with that, if all manner of options had been explored first.

 

The Raiders Realist
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

Clearly, they have not here. According to Spotrac, releasing Hudson now costs about $2 million in cap room. So, why not explore a trade? Ask the man where he might want to play and make some calls? Even a 7th round pick is better than just eating the cap space.

Cutting him now could have potentially saved $8.3 million against the cap in 2022, according to The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. But as Reed said, I am not doing that now. That is the epitome of penny wise, pound foolish.

So, no attempt to trade, nothing. Just release the best player on the team with absolutely no opportunity at compensation. I do not care how this gets spun; this is another bad personnel decision by Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. Signing Yannick Ngakoue was a positive first step forward. And this is an equally big step back.

 

 

Where does this leave the offensive line right now?

 

The Raiders Realist
Photo credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

So, the only position that can be accounted for with any certainty is left tackle, with Kolton Miller now the incumbent on the line heading into his fourth year. Everything else is a question mark. Does Gabe Jackson actually stay now? Does Richie Incognito get brought back? What about Denzelle Good? Will John Simpson become a starter now? Are the Raiders going to sign Kyle Long, who, as of this writing, is leaving Las Vegas after being evaluated by the team without a contract?

I try to pride myself on seeing the big picture, and clearly, saving the coins to enable Andre James a chance to start and go younger is the play here. I don’t like it. Biting the bullet now to ostensibly audition James on a line that is going to be completely retooled is a recipe for disaster. Unless this is a move that is the prelude to a blockbuster, I think it is officially time to move the temperature on that seat in Gruden’s office from room temperature to hot. Too much red ink in the personnel department to come to any other conclusion.

Buckle up Raider Nation. Something tells me the ride is only gonna get bumpier in the next few days.

 

Other observations before today’s complete gut punch.

 

  • I was actually kind of encouraged by the restraint the Raiders had shown by not wildly overpaying for a bunch of guys that were either redundant to what was on the roster or simply not worth the excess salary it would have cost to acquire them. Ngakoue at $13 million is so much better the more I marinate on the reality that the New England Patriots paid the same value for Nelson Agholor. I love what Nelson brought to this team last year, but $13 million when he caught three passes a game is outrageous. That is Javon Walker level of danger. Good luck in Foxborough.

 

  • Speaking of the Evil Belichick’s, could you imagine if the Raiders had spent the money the Patriots have spent on Agholor and Kendrick Bourne (combined $48.5 million) how the sports media would have skewered them like kabob? It is amazing how narratives work in this business. One team’s genius and aggression is another team’s desperation and ignorance: narratives people, nothing but narratives.

 

  • Congrats to Agholor, Devontae Booker, and Maliek Collins. Once a Raider, Always a Raider. The same goes for guys who got it together away from this franchise. Men like Mario Edwards Jr., Jihad Ward, Denico Autry, and Shelby Harris. Looks like a pretty nice defensive line now. Amazing what good coaching and emphasis on defense do for players.

 

  • With the wide receiver market being unusually flat, there is a unique opportunity to upgrade the position. Whether it is someone like JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.Y. Hilton, or even Kenny Golladay, the Raiders may have an opportunity to strike, even if it is on a one-year deal for a really good player out wide. Of course, I am assuming they do not release any more franchise cornerstones by the time I am finished writing.

 

  • Currently, there is a need or question marks at backup running back, wide receiver, right tackle, center, both guard spots, defensive tackle, free safety, the slot corner, and potentially the weakside linebacker. And somehow, the cap is shrinking instead of going up. So surely Gruden and Mayock will have a draft reminiscent of the 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers and all will be welcome at OTA’s.

 

Or, the Raiders are once again staring good ol’ mediocrity square in the face. And as anyone who has been to Vegas knows, you can only crap out so many times before it is time to leave the table.

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CJ Baldwin – Franchise Sports Media

Follow CJ on Twitter @ManusBaldSpot

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