In an interview with ESPN, Raiders owner Mark Davis, who gave HC Jon Gruden a 10-year, $100M deal, is taking full responsibility for the team’s horrendous 1-8 start.
“I always look in the mirror, and the buck stops with me,” Davis said. “Where this team is right now is my fault. We haven’t been able to give this team a chance to win because the reconstruction failed. We failed from 2014 on to have a roster right now.”
Davis discussed a number of topics, including Gruden, the Khalil Mack trade, and QB Derek Carr, among other things:
In regards to Khalil Mack and how it all unfolded:
Davis said Oakland reached out to Mack’s agent, Joel Segal, after the team signed QB Derek Carr to his 5-year, $125M extension in 2017 and presented him with a contract extension that would’ve made Mack the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL.
“But they decided they didn’t want to do it that early,” Davis said. “They would wait.”
After the 2017 season, Davis hired Gruden and Gruden briefly spoke with Mack. That would be the last time the two spoke. The Raiders again talked with Segal during the combine about an extension that would still make Mack the highest-paid defensive player in the league. Segal countered with an offer that “was not going to happen and was not doable for us,” Davis said.
“Jon wanted him. Everybody thinks that Jon’s the one who wanted to get rid of him. Jon wanted him badly. Why wouldn’t you want this guy? Reggie wanted him badly. And I wanted him badly, too. But, if in fact we were going to give the type of money that we were going to give to him, and we had Derek on that type of a (contract), how were we going to go ahead and build this football team, with all the holes that we had?”
My thought was, “Listen, he signed a 5-year contract, if he’s the type of guy that I think he is, he’s going to honor that contract.” And he’s going to come in and play for the $13M for this year and then we’ll work for him during the year and get it. Word came back through certain players that know him and talk to him and know me as well, that he wasn’t going to come in. He was going to do the Le’Veon Bell. At that point, I said, F it. The guy hasn’t talked to anybody. We’ve got to do something.”
Regarding Khalil Mack’s and Amari Cooper’s agent, Joel Segal:
“We knew the same situation [that happened with Mack] was coming up the next year [with Cooper]. It wasn’t just one layer of chess; it was two layers of chess. But to blame Jon, for Khalil Mack not being here, is absolutely not the truth. It was a decision that was made and it wasn’t made easily … I don’t have any bad feelings toward (Mack). I wish he would have talked to Jon and Reggie and wanted to at least honor the fifth year of his contract.”
GM Reggie McKenzie’s future with Gruden and the Raiders:
“Reggie and I need to sit down and talk and figure out how we are going to go about the future. We’ve got to look in the mirror and figure out, where the hell did we go wrong in trying to build this thing? We failed. I have failed. But at the same time, we wouldn’t have been in the great position we were in without Reggie McKenzie being here.”
In regards to Derek Carr and his future with the team:
“Derek is taking a lot of s— right now. He is the franchise QB right now. He doesn’t have Amari Cooper. He lost (Martavis) Bryant to a knee injury today. Guys have been getting hurt. Who’s he throwing to? Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, which are good guys. But they’re not putting the fear of God in anybody. The tight end (Jared Cook) is playing his a– off. You look at the QB and he’s playing behind a battered offensive line … so I don’t know what you can put on Derek and I don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on him.”
Message to the fans:
“I feel so bad for the fans because they want to win. And believe me, there’s nothing more I want than to win and there’s nothing more Jon wants to do than win. Reggie wants to win. Everybody in this organization is built around winning. We don’t have the tools right now to do it and it’s nobody’s fault but our own and when it comes down to it, it’s my fault.”