Raiders To Cut DE Bruce Irvin

The Raiders’ pass rush is likely about to get worse. The team made the decision to cut defensive end Bruce Irvin, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports (on Twitter).

Irvin was a trade candidate before the deadline, but the Raiders did not end up moving him. Now, the veteran edge defender will head to the waiver wire as an intriguing pass-rushing option. Since this transaction comes a few days after the deadline, Irvin — despite being a vested veteran — will have to venture to the wire. He’s signed through the 2019 season.

This represents a stunning turn of events for a once-formidable Raiders edge rush. After two seasons of having Khalil Mack and Irvin locking down their edge spots, the Raiders are going to go into the second half of this season without either.

Previously operating as Mack’s sidekick, Irvin registered 15 sacks between the 2016-17 seasons. He led the Raiders with three this year, though Oakland’s pass rush nose-dived after the scrutinized Mack trade. The Raiders have a league-low seven sacks in eight games. This grim situation now looks worse for the free-falling Raiders, who dropped to 1-7 after enduring one of their worst losses in recent memory on Thursday night.

Irvin, though, played only nine snaps in the 34-3 loss to the 49ers. Jon Gruden cited the Raiders’ 4-3 scheme as a reason Irvin’s playing time had been reduced.

We’re a 4-3 team; we’re not a 3-4,” Gruden said, via Tafur (subscription required). “So in the base defense, sometimes he doesn’t fit the role that we need done. No disrespect to Bruce. He’s an edge rusher. We haven’t had a lead. We haven’t had the opposition behind in the chains a lot. So his role has been reduced. I know he’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. We’ll try to solve that as soon as possible. He’s a good player. He’s a good player.”

Irvin’s departure also represents another Reggie McKenzie investment that’s now off the roster. During a busy 2016 free agency period for the Raiders, McKenzie authorized a four-year, $37MM deal for the former Seahawks first-round pick. Since the Raiders had so much cap room that offseason, McKenzie opted to frontload most of those deals. No guaranteed money was attached to Irvin’s contract in 2018 and none remains on the 31-year-old’s deal.

This should make Irvin an interesting commodity on the wire, which is now arranged by teams’ 2018 records. He’s owed a $9MM base salary in 2019. The Raiders are on the hook for the rest of Irvin’s $8MM this season. With $3.7MM remaining on Irvin’s deal, it’s not a lock he is claimed. But numerous teams could afford it.

Under Gruden, the Raiders have now parted with McKenzie first- or second-round draft picks Mack, Amari Cooper, Obi Melifonwu, Jihad Ward and Mario Edwards. Gruden’s jettisoned McKenzie veteran additions Irvin, Michael Crabtree, Sean Smith, David Amerson and Cordarrelle Patterson.

It’s been a stunning offseason for the AFC’s Bay Area team, one that likely has another season left in its original market before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. After this slew of moves and poor performance this season, the Raiders’ 2019 outlook appears bleak as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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31 comments on “Raiders To Cut DE Bruce Irvin

    • Polez

      No team wanted to pay his salary for rest of year. By releasing him, we are on the hook for his salary this year and a team gets him for nothing if he clears waivers.

    • natsfan3437

      Because it’s the raiders. They always do the opposite of what they should do.

    • caliraider

      they tried , nobody wanted to give up anything for him. He has been garbage this year.

    • caliraider

      they tried , nobody wanted to give up anything for him. He has been garbage this year. he has less than 10 tackles the whole year

  1. Sheep8

    Was this a move to ensure (hope) he’d get claimed and the Raiders did not have to pay his salary? Saving money if they couldn’t get at least a 7th rounder for him.

    • crosseyedlemon

      If he has to run waivers the Jets will get a crack at him before the Lions. Both teams need a pass rush badly.

    • davidkaner

      They do run a 3-4 now and Ansah has been hurt & hasn’t played all year!

  2. Birdman1182

    The obvious tank job is getting slightly ridiculous. hope that #1 pick is worth it

    • diller79

      Ed oliver and Nick Bosa will be the top two picks this year and honestly I would take Khalil Mack over having both of them. Grudens first decision as HC might be one he can’t come back from

      • Bart

        Disagree Diller. Mack is going to decline soon and his salary is ridiculous. The Raiders get to do a complete rebuild.

        • diller79

          Mack is only 26 he won’t decline any time soon. And I would so much rather have the best defensive player in the NFL on a big contract then have a below average QB with a top level contract. Gruden picked the wrong guy to build around

          • natsfan3437

            Carr is a good qb. He reminds me a lot of Alex Smith. When things are good around him he will succeed but when things are not good he will fail. He’ll always play as good as the talent around him.

            • Steven Juris

              Carr is an average QB. Certainly not worth his contract. Better off keeping an All-Pro pass rusher over an average QB if the goal is to tank.

  3. Casey

    Gruden is really trying to make it easier on Oakland fans with the move.

  4. sportsguy1

    Way to go Chucky. Let’s see if we can out Brown the Cleveland Browns. This season 1 win and next season the Mars Raiders with no wins and no home.

    • crosseyedlemon

      Mars Hill already has the Lions and could probably beat Chucky.

  5. ffjsisk

    Come home Bruce! Back to Atlanta, we got your old D coordinator, you’ll fit in fine.

  6. crosseyedlemon

    Photo with Irvin wearing a balaclava is pretty funny. I guess he couldn’t find a paper bag to put over his head.

  7. Polez

    Mack and Irvin replaced Clowney and Bosa. I like that for the future. And we save 10-15 million to use on Le’Veon Bell. Looking good. Respect the process. We were too many players to make a run even with Mack and Cooper. Gruden did it right. It stings but things are starting to look good.

  8. elEddieG

    I’m guessing we’ll be hearing soon that he was causing something in the locker room or something like that. Wasn’t he openly critical on social media when Cooper was traded?

  9. brians-2

    Wonder if the 49ers would give him a look.. Raiders OL seriously is crap right now so last game was a fluke SF got 8 sacks. Maybe a change of scenery and back with Sherman would spark energy and things could work in SF

  10. elEddieG

    Irvin was openly critical on social media when Cooper was traded away and I think he also tweeted something as well when Mack was traded. Maybe that led to him being cut? Just a guess

  11. Steezy

    I said they should have done this in the offseason and resigned Mack. He was awful last year.

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