For all intents and purposes, Rolando McClain was no longer a Raider before week 12 of last season. That's when he got in a heated argument with head coach Dennis Allen who kicked him out of practice. Then to make matters worse, he took to facebook proclaiming he was no longer a Raider and looked forward to joining a "real team."
This was the final straw against a player who goes against everything the Raiders new regime stands for. When they came in they were willing to get past McClain's arrest on assault and gun charges for which there was a pending trial. But he didn't make good on their faith in him. He hasn't shown the leadership skills, instincts, or ambition at the most important defensive position on the field - middle linebacker.
For his outburst and tirade, the team suspended McClain two games for conduct detrimental to the team. They then looked into the possibility of cutting him but were told the cap hit from that move would made it prohibitive so they deactivated him for the final three games of the season.
Since that time, McClain has been a lame duck in Oakland. It seemed as soon as the league year was up on March 12, the Raiders would make his release official. That time came a week ago and yet McClain remained under contract with the Raiders.
This fact has left many to wonder why. And the Raiders were holding onto McClain until they found the best course to take with him.
With McClain's camp seeing the clock ticking and their prospects for their client dwindle, they approached Reggie McKenzie and requested permission to seek out a trade. That request was granted.
McClain, despite his issues, may still hold some value to some team being that he is just three years removed from being the eight overall selection in the draft as a captain middle linebacker for the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide.
The Raiders are banking on a team looking to bring out the vast potential McClain had coming out of college. If they simply cut him, he would saddle the team with nearly $11 million in dead money. This means cutting McClain is just what he wants. Get away from the team he blames for his problems while still getting paid like a franchise player and then get another multimillion dollar contract from his next team? Sounds like a pretty sweet deal.
If no trade can be facilitated, McClain will be released but there is no telling when that will be. They could drag it out for quite some time. It would certainly be after June 1st when his dead money can be split between two seasons but it could be much later. Unlike most players, the Raiders have no incentive to do McClain a solid by giving him plenty of opportunities to find another team.
If they find another team who wants him, it will not be for much in trade. A seventh round draft pick would be standard.
It is clear that finding a trade is best for all parties involved.