Jon Gruden had the NFL on notice in 2018 as he stunned the entire league, trading away two of Oakland’s biggest assets in Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper. These moves essentially sent Chicago and Dallas into the playoffs, resulting in many around the league questioning Gruden’s decisions.
Despite these moves, the Raiders currently find themselves back in the headlines, but this time on the receiving end with the acquisition of the league’s new highest paid receiver, Antonio Brown. Believe it or not, Oakland’s front office was able to pull this off while only having to give up a 3rd and 5th round pick in the upcoming draft. At the same time, they didn’t make a long term commitment to the wideout, signing Brown to a 3-year contract with $30 million in guarantees. It should also be noted that this astounding acquisition can be attributed to Mike Mayock’s presence in the front office as the new GM.
With that said, this move alone certainly won’t be enough to turn around this entire roster, while it’s definitely a step in the right direction. It’s critical for Gruden and the coaching staff to acknowledge the baggage that Brown carries off the field, and make it a top priority to keep it from negatively impacting the team. Simply put, if the chemistry can sink in it’s undeniable that a player of Antonio Brown’s caliber can do wonders for Derek Carr and this offense.
The real challenge now for Gruden and his crew lies in the draft with a stockpile of 3 firsts and a 2nd round pick in the top 35. A lot of their success will be determined from the outcome of these picks, but as of now, Gruden seems to have this team headed back in the right direction.