From the moment the Raiders gave coach Jon Gruden a 10-year, $100 million contract (reportedly, maybe not actually), it became clear that Gruden is running the show. Gruden still tries from time to time to create the impression that he isn’t fully and firmly in charge of the football operation, possibly in order to preserve the ability to blame others for misjudgments that otherwise trace to him.
Regardless, any lingering cover Gruden may have had (none) is now gone, thanks to comments from owner Mark Davis about the looming search for a new G.M.
“One of the issues we have right now is when you’re dealing with player personnel and the General Managers, they’re on a different schedule than the football team is,” Davis said. “The General Manager sees an end basically in April or May after they’ve drafted the players and after they’ve gotten through the first series of free agency. So right now, there’s a lot of people that are on other teams that may be suitable for the Raiders, but we can’t talk to them, and we won’t be able to talk to them until May or so. So right now we’re limited to talking to people who are not on other teams or in the college ranks or something of that nature. That’s the interesting part of this.”
But the Raiders aren’t limited by any timeline; teams routinely hire General Managers in January. The Raiders are limited by the power that the G.M. would have.
That’s the real impediment to hiring a G.M. in January. Any executive under contract with another team can be blocked from interviewing with the Raiders unless the job entails power that otherwise is held by Gruden. Davis, then, is saying that they may wait until after the draft, when contracts potentially expire and/or potentially viable candidates for the Oakland job get hired.
Davis also is saying, without saying it, that Gruden has all the power that a traditional G.M. would possess.
It means that the Raiders may not have a G.M. through the 2019 draft, one in which the Raiders possess three first-round picks. Then again, they have Gruden. Which means that, as a practical matter, they already have their G.M.