for the Raiders last offseason Long-time specialists Sebastian Janikowski and Marquette King were let go and the replacements brought in by Jon Gruden underwhelmed. Eddy Pineiro was placed on injured reserve in September and Johnny Townsend has just a 38.2 net punt average this season. In the midst of this Gruden has said he has found the long term answer at kicker in Daniel Carlson. And he continues to earn the praise of his head coach. Since his arrival in Oakland at midseason George Blanda Jersey
, he is 15/16 on field goals, including hitting his last 14 straight, and is 18/18 on extra points. His start continues to rise in Gruden’s eyes. “He’s my favorite player,” Gruden said Wednesday. “For a while there you don’t know your kickers name. I know this guy’s name. He’s really making a name for himself. Long range field goals, different climates, wet ball, high snap, low snap, on the road, cold weather, he has done it all for us. I don’t think he reminds me of anybody. He’s just tall. He’s a long kicker. I just met his brother who was at practice last week. He’s another up and coming, tall kicker at Auburn. We are happy we have him. He’s clearly been one of the strengths of this team.”In a year in which Gruden was happy to gift players away, the Minnesota Vikings made a rash decision by cutting the rookie fifth rounder after he missed three field goals in one game and it turned into a gift to the Raiders. Since it is the holiday season, it is time to be thankful and count your blessings Thankful to the Vikings for letting a stud kicker to slip through their fingers and in turn bless the Raiders. Few believe the Raiders did the right thing by trading Khalil Mack last September. The MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference nevertheless recognized the trade as being the best of the year in all professional sports.“I think it was the only award we got last year,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden tells Peter King of .It remains a hollow prize Jim Plunkett Jersey
, with most non-MIT-types realizing that the purpose of the draft is to turn lottery tickets into rare jackpots, and then to keep the rare jackpots in place without succumbing to the allure of trading them for more lottery tickets. Gruden now justifies the decision not to pay Mack by pointing to this year’s rash of acquisitions.“If we did come up with the money to make the [Mack] contract happen last year, we wouldn’t have any of these men we’re talking about now,” Gruden tells King. “We would not have [tackle] Trent Brown. We would not have [receiver] Antonio Brown. We wouldn’t have [safety] Lamarcus Joyner. We wouldn’t have [linebacker] Vontaze Burfict and we wouldn’t have [receiver] Tyrell Williams. And we wouldn’t have the three first-rounders that we’re talking about.”But that’s not accurate. First, teams can do a lot more with the cap than they claim that they can do. While it’s possible that the Raiders were limited more by cash concerns, it’s not as hard as it used to be to create cap space to permit moves that a team wants to make — especially with the cap going by up more than $10 million every year.Second, as it relates to Mack, the Raiders ended up backed against a financial wall because they incorrectly assumed that Mack would play out his fifth-year option in 2018, and they stubbornly refused to give him a new deal. If they’d realized that he wasn’t going to show up without that new deal, and if they’d paid him before Aaron Donald broke the bank on the Friday of Labor Day weekend, the Raiders surely could have gotten Mack for less than what the Bears paid.And let’s consider what the Bears paid. At $23.5 million per year, they set a new high-water mark for defensive players even while giving up multiple draft picks to get him. If they could have gotten Mack on the open market, they would have paid somewhere between $25 million and $30 million per year for Mack.The Raiders, if they’d properly handled Mack a year ago at this time, likely could have had him for $20 million per year Charles Woodson Jersey
, and maybe even a little less than that. (Before Donald got to $22.5 million annually, the highest-paid defensive player was Von Miller, at just over $19 million per year.) That extra $3.5 million per year would have helped pay for their 2019 free agents.Would they have signed all of them? Probably not. But with Antonio Brown essentially replacing receiver Amari Cooper‘s current and future cap and cash burden, the question becomes whether it makes more sense to have Khalil Mack or Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner, Vontaze Burfict, and Tyrell Williams. Even if one or more of those guys could have been signed if Mack hadn’t been traded, it doesn’t take a degree from MIT to conclude that Mack can do far more to impact games and deliver victories than those other four players combined.The goal when drafting players continues to be finding potential Hall of Famers. When a team finds those potential Hall of Famers, the challenge becomes finding a way to keep them around, for a second contract, a third, and maybe a fourth.To truly justify the trade, the Raiders need to get a future Hall of Famer with one of the first-rounders acquired for Mack. If they do, they need to figure out how to keep him.