After essentially losing his power as general manager to new $100 million head coach Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie was fired this morning, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
#Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie had a meeting with his scouts today where he informed them he was fired, per me and @TomPelissero. He was given the chance to stay the season, but is not expected to do so.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 10, 2018
McKenzie's firing had been rumored since Sunday, and it happened a day after the Raiders shocked the Pittsburgh Steelers 24-21. Rapoport noted back in September that there was a major "divide" in the team building. Thus, McKenzie's departure from the organization was only a matter of time.
The Raiders hired McKenzie to take over as general manager in 2012, and he quickly pieced together a team filled with franchise building blocks. McKenzie nailed the Khalil Mack and Derek Carr draft picks in 2014, and he got a Pro Bowl wide receiver in Amari Cooper a year later.
McKenzie also hired former Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio as his new head coach for the 2015 season. After going 7-9 that year, the Raiders went 12-4 and reached the postseason for the first time in 14 years.
The resurgent season in Oakland had McKenzie's fingerprints all over them. With clever drafting, smart coach hirings and a handful of good free agent signings, McKenzie's Raiders looked to be on the up again.
But after a down year for the Raiders in 2017, owner Mark Davis decided to fire Del Rio and give $100 million to Gruden, who had been out of coaching for 10 years. The former Monday Night Football analyst refused to pay Mack during his holdout, and the decision was to trade the star pass rusher to the Chicago Bears.
What This Means
McKenzie was seemingly never on board with the decision to trade Mack, but he had little say since Gruden was given all the power from Davis. And so, the man responsible for building the Raiders back into a relevant franchise (for one season, at least), lost his job.
This only puts the pressure on Gruden to nail his three first-round draft picks in 2019. The Raiders removed McKenzie and gave him $100 million to turn it around on his own. It's all up to Gruden to show he's the man to do it.