You can take the Raiders out of Oakland, but you cannot take Oakland out of the Raiders. At least according to the fans who are roasting the franchise for making a questionable decision.
Earlier today, the Las Vegas Raiders waived offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood was the 17th overall pick in the 2021 draft, so the move certainly signals that they made a mistake last year.
Of course, NFL Twitter was quick to criticize their latest move:
It is atypical to release a first-rounder just a year after drafting the player.
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The Las Vegas Raiders are at a crossroads
After an epic Week 18 battle with the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas snuck into the playoffs. They were defeated by the eventual AFC champions the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round. As a result, Las Vegas made several splash moves in the hope of going deeper into the playoffs in the upcoming campaign.
They hired Josh McDaniels from the New England Patriots to be their head coach. Next, they traded for star wide receiver Davante Adams to pair with his former college teammate Derek Carr. With Adams, tight end Darren Waller, and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, the franchise is looking to compete with the AFC West.
But the other franchises in the West have not been idle. The West now boasts Russell Wilson at the Denver Broncos, Khalil Mack at the Chargers, and though the Kansas City Chiefs haven't made a splash, they're still the Chiefs.
For a team mired in controversy last season (Jon Gruden's emails, Henry Ruggs III's arrest for a high-speed car collision), Las Vegas were still talented enough to squeak into the playoffs. The franchise will start the season with a fresh slate.
McDaniels and Adams as the new faces in town should bring some excitement and confidence to Las Vegas. But in the wildly competitive AFC West, the Raiders will need to capitalize on winning their divisional games this season.
Las Vegas will kick off their campaign away against the Los Angeles Chargers in one of the best matchups of Week 1. This will be something of a litmus test for their offense and it will be interesting to see how they get on. The game is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET on September 11.