If you’re confused by what the Oakland Raiders are doing, you’re not alone.
The players are wondering, as well.
The Raiders made a huge headline Monday when they traded receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick. That came after Gruden said the Raiders weren’t shopping Cooper.
According to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, players are miffed not only at the 180 on that stance, but that Gruden didn’t bother telling them about the trade.
‘You have to wonder if we haven’t been playing for draft picks’
At least some of the Raiders’ remaining players, who spoke to Tafur anonymously, aren’t thrilled with what’s going on.
“When what you say and what you do are two different things, there is a problem,” one player told The Athletic.
Gruden didn’t address the team about the trade. Cooper was pulled out of practice, but Gruden didn’t tell his players anything about the deal after practice was done. He did, however, talk to ESPN.
Nothing much has gone right for the Raiders this season. The trade of Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears is one that will follow Gruden around for a long time. Trading Cooper was much more prudent because they got a first-round pick for a receiver who hasn’t been productive in a long time. But now the Raiders have 10 games left and less hope than ever.
“You have to wonder if we haven’t been playing for draft picks all along,” one player told The Athletic. “Despite everything the coaches told us at training camp.”
Jon Gruden thinking long term
Gruden wants to reshape the roster. He made a ton of moves in the offseason, and the two big trades leave Oakland with five first-round picks over the next two years. He has been ridiculed for many of the moves, but he has some draft capital to work with in future years.
Players on the roster now don’t much care about the long-term plan. Tight end Lee Smith went on the record to talk about that.
“Guys don’t work their ass off year-round because they are worried about the team being good in two or three years, they work hard to win. Now,” Smith said. “Nobody was happy when we traded Khalil. And nobody is happy that we traded Amari. How could you be? You never ever want to trade elite, homegrown talent. But Coach Gruden is thinking long term.”
The rest of the season could be very uncomfortable, and it’s possible the Raiders aren’t done making moves.
“The Mack trade was a real stiff jab,” a Raiders player told Tafur. “But the Cooper one was like a knockout punch, especially because we had just walked back in the door from the bye. We didn’t want to believe it was coming, and Coach said we weren’t going to trade him.”
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