With their eye on Jon Gruden, the Oakland Raiders fired Jack Del Rio on Monday, this after finishing a disappointing 6-10. Gruden, 54, has not coached since 2008 but remains a highly visible personality due to his work on Monday Night Football.
Is Gruden to the Raiders actually going to happen?
“It appears so,” Bleacher Report NFL writer Jason Cole said on Ferrall on the Bench. “If they didn’t think it was going to happen, they wouldn’t have fired Del Rio. I think this it’s formality at this point. You just gave a guy a four-year contract extension a year ago. You’re not walking away from that contract unless you know you’re getting something better. . . . This is all about Gruden in Vegas.”
Gruden, who led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl title in 2002, will reportedly receive an ownership stake in the Raiders – which makes no sense to Cole.
“That sounds like insanity to me,” he said. “It sounds like absolute insanity. How do you walk that back? Here’s the other thing: If that’s the case, isn’t that Gruden’s last stop? Because you can’t be a part-owner and then get fired and then work for another team, right? So I don’t know how that’s going to work. I think that Mark Davis is silly enough to do that. Why don’t you just pay him the cash? Why would you give up any stake in the team? Just give him the money.”
The Raiders went 12-4 last year and made the playoffs for the first time since losing to Gruden’s Bucs in the Super Bowl. They were expected to return to the playoffs in 2017, but it didn’t happen. Can Gruden get them there in 2018?
Maybe, maybe not.
“How much incentive is Jon Gruden going to have to be great if you’re paying him $10 million a year?” Cole wondered. “This is a guy who’s already led a pretty cushy life here for the last nine years. How bad is he going to want to work just because you’re paying him all this money? (Bringing Gruden in would be) marketing genius, but to me, it’s doomed because I just don’t think Gruden (would want to do the work).”