Jon Gruden claims players call him up and say they are ‘dying to play’ for Raiders

The Oakland Raiders have often looked like an outright disaster on the field this season. Jon Gruden’s club is 1-6, with the 27th-ranked scoring offense and 31st-ranked scoring defense. The Raiders have jettisoned seemingly everybody that was held over from Reggie McKenzie’s time leading the personnel department, including but not limited to shipping out star pass-rusher Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The team’s draft and free agency signings were roundly criticized and so far the 2018 season has proven that criticism prescient as players like Kolton Miller, P.J. Hall, and Brandon Parker have disappointed while Martavis Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Tahir Whitehead, Rashaan Melvin, and more have made minimal impact and in some cases even been benched. 

And yet, Gruden claims, the Raiders are a desirable team. According to the man himself, he has a ton of players calling him up and expressing that they cannot wait to play for the Raiders. 

“I got a cell phone just like you and everybody else, and I get a lot of phone calls from people who are dying to come and play here,” Gruden said in an interview with FOX. “I’m just telling you, to have salary cap space, to have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the silver and black and represent this team, that’s exciting.”

The idea that Gruden is getting tons of phone calls about this seems somewhat unlikely given that players are likely still concentrated on their own seasons and not on what the Raiders will do next March. Oakland will have a whole lot of cap space to work with this coming offseason, though, as well as three first-round picks. That’s a nice foundation on which to build a team … if they can identify the right players to sign and draft, which they did not do a great job of in their first go-round. We’ll just have to see what happens next. 

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