Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the best returners in the NFL and played a key part in the Oakland Raiders’ win over the Denver Broncos in November. But he is not a part of Jon Gruden’s vision for the franchise.
On Monday, the Raiders made it official by trading Patterson to the New England Patriots for a fifth-round pick.
Patterson finished his short tenure in the Silver and Black with 121 rushing yards and two touchdowns and a season as the leading kickoff returner in the NFL. His departure is one of several made by a franchise looking to re-establish an identity under Gruden.
Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie sent away Michael Crabtree in favor of Jordy Nelson last week. That was the splashiest move, but it could easily get lost when listed with all of the other moves the Raiders have made since the league year started last week.
Additions: RB Doug Martin (maybe he has something left in the tank, maybe he isn’t on the roster for training camp), TE Derek Carrier (not a threat in the passing game, but a great blocker), FB Keith Smart (yes, there are still fullbacks in the NFL), S Marcus Gilchrest (the more bodies competing in the secondary come preseason the better), LB Tahir Whitehead (a beast on the weakside who proved himself in Detroit), LS Andrew DePaola (somebody’s gotta do the job), CB Rashaan Melvin (OK, sure), P Colby Wadman (hey, that’s Marquette King’s position), LB Kyle Wilber (special teamers matter, too), DL Tank Carradine (he improved with the 49ers and could make an impact given another shot).
And that isn’t including Monday’s other moves: adding QB Josh Johnson (a Gruden favorite who instantly becomes the best backup Derek Carr has ever had in his pro career), and CB Shareece Wright (another veteran worth taking a look at).
Gruden is rebuilding the Raiders with a vision, which is something fans should be excited about. After years of a talented roster languishing under Jack Del Rio, Oakland having a direction would be a welcome change.
He’s shown he can work with McKenzie to get the personnel to match his schemes and philosophies, but there’s going to be one question that defines the Raiders under the first year of Gruden and it won’t be answered for a long time: Can those philosophies still work in the NFL?