There are plenty of NFL teams that have had extremely tumultuous offseasons. The Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans come to mind immediately, due to extremely tenuous circumstances with their star quarterbacks. ESPN‘s Bill Barnwell, however, believes a different team owns the worst offseason in the league this year: the Las Vegas Raiders.
In a new column ranking the 32 teams by how successful they’ve been since the 2020-21 season came to a close in February, the Texans came in at No. 29, and the Packers at No. 31 in the league. The Raiders, however, own the bottom spot.
On the bright side: Barnwell complimented the team on not allowing previous iffy draft picks like Clelin Ferrell, a shocker at No. 4 in the 2019 NFL Draft, stop them from upgrading at various positions, especially on defense. That is a big positive for sure. There’s no use in falling for the sunk cost fallacy for a team looking to contend.
Plenty of the other moves don’t make sense to Barnwell, including signing a relatively expensive RB2 in Kenyan Drake when Josh Jacobs is on a first-round contract, giving up on quality offensive linemen, and then using a first-rounder on another player at the position that most didn’t expect to be drafted as high as he was: Alabama’s Alex Leatherwood.
While contracts for (Yannick) Ngakoue and John Brown were relative bargains, the Raiders inexplicably handed Kenyan Drake a two-year, $11 million pact to serve as a second running back alongside first-round pick Josh Jacobs. Las Vegas also dismantled one of the league’s most impressive offensive lines by trading away free-agent addition Trent Brown, star center Rodney Hudson and homegrown guard Gabe Jackson for mid-to-late round picks. The team used a first-round pick on Alex Leatherwood to help replace the losses, but just about every public source regarded the Alabama tackle as an overdraft at No. 17 overall. Teams have more insight into prospects than we typically do, but given the Raiders’ recent track record with draft picks, they don’t deserve any benefit of the doubt.
Offensive line is crucial to any team with hopes of competing, especially one in a division with the Kansas City Chiefs and the up-and-coming Los Angeles Chargers. You can certainly debate that this doesn’t stack up to the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers drama, or everything that has gone on with the Texans dating back to December, but it isn’t ideal.
— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) June 3, 2021
The Las Vegas Raiders finished 8-8 a year ago. Jon Gruden‘s team opens its season at home against the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, Sept. 13.