The Oakland Raiders have been considered one of, if not the most, likely destination for some of the league’s biggest free agents this offseason. After all, the Raiders don’t have a general manager and a head coach, but they have plenty of cap room and the best owner in the league. With that said, there have been reports that the Raiders’ top priority in free agency is to sign offensive tackle Donald Penn. Penn is one of the best left tackles in the league and would provide Oakland with much-needed stability on the offensive line. However, as it turns out, Penn is already in the process of signing with another team.
On Tuesday, Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas told reporters that he would not be signing with the Raiders, but that he could return to the team in 2018 if they retained quarterback Derek Carr . The Raiders did not retain Carr and free agent quarterback Josh McCown will be starting this season. Thomas has now ruled out signing with another team, but it is not over for fans: he says he will not retire and will remain in touch with his former team.
Gruden and the Raiders agreed on a one year contract extension according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal is worth over $10 million including a $6 million signing bonus. The contract made Gruden the highest paid coach in NFL history. It is unknown what Gruden’s coaching style will be this season, but he is widely expected to install a run oriented offense similar to that of the Dallas Cowboys.
Training camps have been underway for a week, and the season is now less than a month away. Teams are finalizing their depth charts and rosters, while the remaining free agents are choosing who they will represent in 2021. Linebacker K.J. Wright, one of the finest free agents remaining, is still available and just visited with the Las Vegas Raiders.
Despite the fact that the Raiders could use a great defensive player like Wright, the former Seattle Seahawk said no thanks to the Silver and Black. He walked out of the team’s facilities, telling them, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
K.J. Wright is one of the best free agents in the NFL right now.
K.J. Wright | Christian Petersen/Getty Images/K.J. Wright
With the season only a month away, there aren’t many impact free agents still on the market. Linebacker K.J. Wright is one guy who can still make an impact in 2021.
With selection No. 99 in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft, the former Mississippi State Bulldog was selected by the Seattle Seahawks. Wright spent the first ten seasons of his career in the Pacific Northwest with Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks.
The 2016 Pro Bowler is a versatile linebacker who can play strong, weak, or middle linebacker depending on the situation. During his ten years in Seattle, he appeared in 144 games and had 941 tackles, which ranked him sixth among active players. He added 66 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, nine fumble recoveries, and six interceptions to his stat line.
Wright also provides experience and leadership to his squad. He has appeared in 15 career postseason games and was a member of the Seahawks Super Bowl squads in 2013 (winning) and 2014 (losing).
Wright paid a visit to the Raiders in Las Vegas but did not sign with them.
One of the top free agents remaining, KJ Wright, departed without signing. He has a couple clubs interested in him and will keep in contact with Vegas. https://t.co/XUkcotyseM
August 5, 2021 — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet)
Wright and the Raiders seem to be a good match. The past three seasons, the club has been in the bottom half of the NFL in terms of yards allowed. With an offensive that ranked in the top third of the league in yards gained the previous two seasons, the Raiders would be a playoff team with an improved defense.
Aside from the necessity, the Raiders provide Wright with a feeling of comfort. Gus Bradley, who was the defensive coordinator for Wright and the Seahawks during the linebacker’s first two years in the NFL, is the new defensive coordinator in Las Vegas.
With all of this in place, Wright flew to Vegas on August 5 and seemed to be on his way to joining the team. However, the defensive standout unexpectedly departed without agreeing to a contract.
Wright walked away from the Raiders because “he has interest from a couple clubs,” according to NFL source Ian Rapoport. He allegedly left the door ajar for the Raiders, stating that he “will stay in contact with Vegas.” Don’t bother calling me; I’ll call you.
It’s possible that the Raiders are experiencing internal problems.
Once a Raider, always a Raider, but in recent days, the number of front-office workers who are no longer technically Raiders has increased to four. https://t.co/vRkQ0CSaLr
August 4, 2021 — ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk)
Wright’s firing of the Raiders does not seem to be a result of a necessity or a plan flaw. It’s possible that it’s a symptom of bigger organizational issues.
Four high-ranking Raiders executives have left the team since June. According to CBS Sports, club President Marc Badain departed the organization in July, stating that “it is time for me to concentrate on my family and look forward to other pursuits” after seeing Allegiant Stadium completed.
Three additional Raiders front office members have left since June, in addition to Badain. Ed Villanueva, the CFO, Araxie Grant, the club controller, and Brandon Doll, the V.P. of strategy and business development, are among them.
These resignations may just be the result of the regular course of business, or they could be the last dominoes in the team’s relocation to a new city. If you’re a Las Vegas Raiders conspiracy theorist, these resignations, coupled with Wright’s surprise reluctance to sign, might be the smoke signaling a blazing fire at the organization’s top levels.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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The Oakland Raiders have been extremely quiet in the free agent market thus far. They have reportedly met with several talented players, and no one has yet been signed. However, rumors continue to swirl around the team’s interest in a player known as “Seth” who would be a free agent right about the time the new league year begins.. Read more about raiders free agency signings and let us know what you think.
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