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Excitement, promise and a chance at a playoff return were the themes going into the season. In about eight hours time, Raider Nation was dug into a pit of despair. September 1st, 2018 was a dark day for Raider Nation.

A Dark Day For Raider Nation

Mack is Delt to the Bears

News broke early in the A.M. that the sole bright spot on the defense since he was drafted in 2014, Khalil Mack, was getting shipped to Chicago. The news came as a surprise as the Raiders continually stated they didn’t want to move the former Defensive Player of the Year. Compensation was expected to be a king’s ransom but that turned quickly into fools gold.

The Raiders sent Mack, a 2020 second round pick and a conditional fifth in exchange for the Bears 2019 first and sixth round and their 2020 first and third-round picks. Whatever hope the Raiders had for a successful season may have gone out the window.

Quarterback Carousel

Jon Gruden, unhappy with the current quarterbacks on the roster, goes out and gets A.J. McCarron from the Buffalo Bills. However, they give up a fifth-round pick for him just hours before teams cut their roster from 90 to 53. This doesn’t make any sense at all.

McCarron was brought in to compete for the starting job in Buffalo and then proceeded to become the third string behind Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen. There was a chance he would get cut and Raiders wouldn’t have had to give up anything to get him. Speaking of cuts, after Raiders trade for McCarron, Gruden cuts not one, but both backup QBs on their roster. EJ Manuel and Connor Cook got the Gruden boot less than an hour after the trade.

In all honesty, McCarron is a better option than both of those players, but Gruden’s offensive playbook is no walk in the park and it will take time for McCarron to be ready to take over in case of emergency. We’re not done yet, folks. Word gets out that Martavis Bryant will likely face another suspension due to a failed drug test. Not a surprise when you look at his history, but the Raiders knew this before they traded for him. They essentially rented him from the Steelers for training camp for a third-round pick. Raiders then cut bait with Bryant, leaving a huge hole at the third WR spot.

This hole, of course, will be filled by none other than Seth Roberts, who cashed in a contract he absolutely didn’t deserve and secured himself a spot on the 53 man roster that he likely shouldn’t be on.

Possible Silver Lining

All in all, this was a dark day for Raider Nation. Possibly one of the worst in recent history. It’s not all bad, though. Next year’s defensive line draft class could be the best in recent memory. The Raiders will have the capital to go up and get “their’ guy. These are just prospects but the Raiders will save 23 million dollars a year and could grab a few impact players in free agency.

Granted, Reggie McKenzie and Gruden absolutely can’t whiff on these picks. Trades for impact players are also becoming increasingly more workable within the league, so don’t rule out that possibility.  With the salary cap increases, the Raiders have cleared approximately 12.5% of their 2019 cap. This is quite a bit of space with a good free agency crop coming up. The production of Mack can’t be matched by just one player but the staff has high hopes for rookies Arden Key, Maurice Hurst and PJ Hall on the defensive line. It may not be pretty, but this could end up being a nice win-win trade for the Raiders.

Keaton Ohara

Author Keaton Ohara

An avid sports fan living in Los Angeles. I've lived all over the country with each city adding another chapter to my sports life. Gained a passion for College Football and the pageantry that comes with it.

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