The Las Vegas Raiders spent Day 2 of the free agency legal tampering period without doing a whole lot of spending. Instead, they dropped a surprise, releasing center Rodney Hudson, weakening the offensive line.
The Raiders have reshuffled their offensive line in recent weeks via trade and release, and on Tuesday they were at it again. Three-time Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson was the next domino to fall as the Raiders reportedly plan to release him, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.
Hudson has been a staple among the Raiders’ front five for the last six seasons, only missing four games over that span. Hudson is regarded as one of the best centers in the NFL and his statistics are right on brand with that narrative. Over his tenure with the Raiders, Rodney Hudson accumulated 3,703 pass-block snaps and allowed just three sacks and six quarterback hits, per PFF.
Hudson’s resumé sits among the elite category. Typically, this is the type of player teams desperately hold onto, even at a high cost. But the release was also driven by Hudson in this instance. According to former quarterback Mark Sanchez, Hudson requested a release and agreed to void the $3.5 million in guarantees that he had in his contract for the upcoming season.
The Raiders now move ahead having already traded right tackle Trent Brown and released left guard Richie
Incognito. Denzelle Good, who played a combination of the guard and right tackle, was not re-signed and has begun to test the free agent market. Right guard Gabe Jackson has been involved in potential cap cuts but still remains on the roster at least for now.
With today’s surprise release of Rodney Hudson, the Raiders’ tentative offensive line shapes up as such:
- LT: Kolton Miller
- LG: John Simpson
- C: Andre James
- RG: Gabe Jackson
- RT: Brandon Parker
Hudson’s release drew a sharply negative reaction from Raiders fans, and certainly means the Raiders need to find additional help upfront.
Additionally, the Raiders held a workout for offensive guard Kyle Long, per Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Long, the son of Raiders’ Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, looks to get his foot back in the NFL after retiring following the 2019 season. He’s still just 32-years-old and has played at a high level during his tenure with the Bears, earning three Pro Bowl nods. In his last four seasons (2019-16), Long has allowed five sacks during that span.
Per multiple reports, Long left the Raiders facility without a deal in place and is expected to visit the Kansas City Chiefs.
Since Gruden regained the keys to the franchise in 2018, the Raiders have made the offensive line a priority. From drafting Miller in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, to making Brown the highest-paid right tackle in free agency two years ago, this is a much different look among the Raiders’ offensive line.
While this may be a change in times to allocate more resources on the defensive side of the ball, the Raiders’ free agency plans may include some bargain shopping to fill the current voids that were left.
There’s no question the release of Hudson was a shock to most observers and the future of the offensive line remains in flux.