FUBAR is a military slang which stands for “Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition.” Since coined, it has generally been used as a term to describe any scenario when the shit hits the fan. However, what would you call it if the situation was even worse than that? Look no further than the Oakland Raiders.
Many writers and analysts, myself included, have been critical of the questionable array of moves made by the Raiders this offseason. In a previous post, I strongly criticized the decisions made by Oakland’s head coach Jon Gruden, who is clearly the one calling the shots over general manager Reggie McKenzie. That post was five months ago, and the criticisms have only grown louder since then.
As much as I hate the “Wake Me Up When September Ends” tweets on September 1, the one exception this year is for Raider fans, who should probably change “September” to “the NFL season.” Yes, September 1, 2018, the deadline for sizing down the rosters to the league’s 53-man requirement, will forever become a day Raider fans would like to forget.
In nearly a 12-hour span, the Raiders became the poorly managed laughing stock that we’ve grown used to seeing for the past 15 years. It all started with Khalil Mack, Oakland’s superstar pass rusher, getting moved to the Chicago Bears in an extremely questionable trade.
To recap day:
Bears get: Khalil Mack, a 2020 second-round round pick and a conditional 2020 fifth-round pick.
Raiders get: 2019 first-round pick, 2020 first-round pick, 2020 third-round pick, 2019 sixth-round pick.
Mack gets 6-year, $141 million extension, including $90M gtd.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 1, 2018
Two first rounders and more is a great haul, but in addition to Mack, Oakland gave back a second and conditional fifth rounder too? Yikes.
This move was inevitable after months of speculation that Mack was unhappy with his contract situation in Oakland. To make matters worse, there was almost zero dialogue between him and Jon Gruden. Rather than let the tumultuous relationship continue, the Raiders finally pulled the trigger on a deal. Unfortunately, the deal wasn’t what fans had hoped for.
While trading Mack, a generational talent with Hall of Fame aspirations, was bad in itself, this move also signified a possible power struggle between Jon Gruden and Reggie McKenzie.
From one team executive who spoke to Raiders about Mack, speaking of Reggie McKenzie: “It was crystal clear to me that Reggie didn’t want to trade Mack.”
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) September 1, 2018
Double yikes. When your head coach and general manager aren’t seeing eye to eye, it’s a big problem. McKenzie knew what he had in Khalil Mack and had zero desire to get rid of him, but Gruden clearly didn’t care whether or not Mack was in Oakland. Something tells me one of these two won’t be in Oakland much longer. Hint: it’s not Gruden.
So that’s it, right? You’re probably thinking, “Trading a superstar is dumb, sure, but it’s not the end of the world.” Well to quote every infomercial in television history, “but wait, there’s more!” This dumpster fire of a day didn’t stop after the trade of Khalil Mack.
Oakland continued their busy Saturday by parting ways with the talented but troubled wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who they acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers in April for a 2018 third-round draft pick (79th overall). The release was likely due to Bryant having an upcoming appeal for another drug-related suspension. So Jon Gruden traded a relatively high draft pick for a wide receiver that he ended up cutting before the season even began. You can’t make this stuff up.
Want another front office debacle? The Raiders finally decided to address their backup quarterback situation after Gruden was quoted saying that his team had no such player at the position. Their answer to that problem? Former Alabama star A.J. McCarron, who was fighting for a starting job in Buffalo, but couldn’t beat out rookie Josh Allen and Nathan Peterman. Yes, THAT Nathan Peterman.
Okay, so McCarron isn’t a great quarterback by any means, but he’s an experienced veteran and should be a competent backup for Derek Carr. Surely the price tag wouldn’t be bad for a guy who couldn’t beat out Allen or Peterman, right? *nervously laughs* Yeah, about that. The Raiders gave up a fifth-round pick in 2019 for him.
Now I realize that a fifth rounder isn’t the end of the world, but that’s still an awful lot for a guy who was the third-best quarterback behind a talented but raw rookie and a guy who threw five interceptions in one game. The Raiders probably could’ve signed McCarron after he was inevitably released. Instead, they gave up draft capital and took on McCarron’s $10 million contract. Way to go, Jon Gruden.
Here’s one more to put the cherry on top of an absolutely dreadful day for the Oakland Raiders. Sorry if I’m rubbing salt in the wounds, Raider fans.
— AP NFL (@AP_NFL) September 2, 2018
For a team that already has an awful defense and secondary, this was just another kick in the nads for Oakland.
The 2018-2019 NFL season has yet to begin, and Jon Gruden has somehow found a way to go from being beloved to despised by a fan base. Shoutout to the Raider fans who are standing with Gruden and his decisions, because I don’t understand how you can right now. Just think, they gave this guy a ten-year deal.
Raider fans are free to bookmark this and roast me on a spit in the event that I’m wrong and Gruden takes the Raiders to the promised land. I’m always big enough to admit when I’m wrong. Besides, it won’t matter when Gruden is hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in Las Vegas and not Oakland.
Photo: Getty Images