The Oakland Raiders fired general manager Reggie McKenzie on Monday, as the team wraps up yet another adventurous and extremely disappointing season.
McKenzie's firing was only a matter of time once the Raiders gave Jon Gruden a 10-year contract worth $100 million to return to coaching. Gruden was essentialy given all power in player personnel decisions, and it was no kept secret that he and McKenzie weren't seeing eye to eye.
But for Raiders owner Mark Davis, firing the man who was key in building a playoff team in 2016 did not come easy.
"Reggie is a great person with a great family," Davis said Tuesday, according to Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. "It was tough (the decision to fire him). It was tough for him early on, but he was unselfish...He worked hard for our organization, and we are thankful for everything he did for the Raiders."
The Raiders have been one of the worst organizations in football over the past 15 years. McKenzie was brought on in 2012 and built a talented team through the draft, adding franchise cornerstones in Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.
But Mack and Cooper were dealt to the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, by Gruden. McKenzie had virtually no say in the moves, he simply had to stay quiet and watch the $100 million coach destroy the team he had built.
That core McKenzie assembled made the playoffs in 2016, ending a 14-year drought. But after a down season in 2017, Davis decided to fire head coach Jack Del Rio and bring Gruden back. The latter had been out of coaching for 10 years, taking up a job as a Monday Night Football analyst.
Gruden owns three first-round picks in the 2019 draft, obtained via the Bears and Cowboys. The pressure is on Gruden to rebuild this Oakland team into a relevant unit, especially after deciding to break up the core that McKenzie assembled in such short time.
What This Means
Nobody needs a reminder about how dysfunctional the Raiders have been. The decision to fire the best GM they've had in the last 15 or so years could very well being a regretful one. It all comes down to how Gruden manages his position as both the coach and, essentially, the general manager.