Jack Del Rio is still the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. He just signed contract extension last offseason. But as the Raiders finish up a disappointing 2017 season, rumors of Jon Gruden returning to the Silver & Black have surfaced.
Interesting to hear team play-by-play guy Greg Papa openly wonder on the radio if the Raiders might go after Jon Gruden either now or in a year.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 11, 2017
Tim Kawakami expanded on the idea of Gruden leaving his job with ESPN to return to coaching. He believes that Mark Davis would seriously consider hiring Gruden if Gruden wanted the job, especially if Gruden was fine working with general manager Reggie McKenzie.
Gruden has not coached since 2008, his final year with the Buccaneers. Gruden spent four seasons in Oakland posting a 38-26 record with two playoff appearances. He then went 57-55 in seven seasons with Tampa Bay, which included a Super Bowl title over the Raiders in 2003.
Every offseason 54-year-old Gruden is rumored to be returning to a head coaching job. He was tied to the Tennessee Volunteers job just last month. So to see Gruden’s name popping up for the Raiders doesn’t mean much, especially when Del Rio is still the head coach.
Del Rio is likely safe after this season. His seat likely won’t get hot until next season if the Raiders struggle again.
But the simple fact that Gruden's name has been mentioned indicates how disappointing 2017 has been for the Raiders.
One other point Kawakami brought up is the Raiders coming move to Vegas and if that could impact Davis’ financial decisions.
Firing Del Rio or McKenzie would lead to buyouts and ultimately paying two people to be the head coach or general manager. The move to Vegas is supposed to give the Raiders a stronger financial future with control of a brand new stadium.
But Davis is taking out a loan worth more than half of a billion dollars. So how quickly he begins to see financial benefits of a new stadium might deter any moves that could cost him millions of dollars.
It will be interesting to see how the timelines of Derek Carr and Del Rio's careers play out with Vegas on the horizon in 2020. If both continue to struggle, the move out of Oakland could be used as a complete franchise reset.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.