The Las Vegas Raiders are trimming their roster in preparation for the 2021 season with Josina Anderson reporting that the team will cut guard Gabe Jackson and Ian Rapoport saying that they are also shopping right tackle Trent Brown.
The Jackson release was one that I expected to happen even before this year began. Jackson had a $9.6 million cap charge with no dead money if released. Jackson has been a solid player for the Raiders and bounced back from back to back years in which he did not play 16 games to play nearly every snap for the Raiders. Jackson had signed an $11 million per year contract back in 2017 that predated the Jon Gruden regime coming in. I would expect Jackson to land with a team pretty quickly once the release is official, though at a lower price tag.
Brown is one I speculated about earlier based on an astronomical contract for a right tackle and a constant injury history. Brown was the Raiders prized free agent signing in 2019 inking him to a four year contract that average $16.5 million a season, the largest contract ever (at the time) for an offensive lineman. They went that high because Brown was likely to have suitors at left tackle.
Brown has been pretty unreliable the last two seasons, starting off well enough in 2019 before a pec injury landed him on IR. He played 11 games and made the Pro Bowl that year but only played in five games this year, including a trip to the Covid list and a tough time coming back from it.
Brown’s contract was frontloaded with the Raiders picking up $36.75 million of the $66 million contract in the first two years. With only 16 games played that winds up one of the worst returns on investment in the league.
Brown’s contract is only $14 million this season and there are few tackles available in the NFL this year in free agency which gives the Raiders an opportunity here to find a team willing to take a chance this season. Brown may not have the best reputation in the NFL and the injuries are a clear problem but for a team with a gaping hole at left tackle Brown could be worth a gamble given how expensive the position has gotten since Brown signed the deal.
The Raiders should have about $2.5 million in cap space once Jackson’s release is official. If Brown if cut or traded that will jump to $16 million. The Raiders have a large number of players who could be cut in the coming two weeks to clear a good deal of cap room for free agency.