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Jon Gruden’s wide receiver trading odyssey needs to come to an end

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Gruden likes to trade for wide receivers, and it doesn’t work out very well

NFL: Detroit Lions at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Since taking over as head coach for the Oakland Raiders, Jon Gruden has made a trade for wide receivers five times. That’s the most in the NFL over the past two seasons, with the next closest teams being the Cleveland Browns and New England with three trades apiece. Let’s examine how Gruden has navigated the wide receiver position since he took over.

Trade No. 1 - April 26, 2018

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired: Martavis Bryant

Gave Up: 2018 3rd Round Pick, No. 79 overall

Result: The Steelers traded the pick to Seattle to move up three spots to No. 76 to acquire Mason Rudolph. Gruden’s “White Tiger” appeared in eight games and started just two. Bryant’s contribution to the Raiders included 19 receptions, 266 receiving yards, 3 carries, 23 rushing yards, and no touchdowns. Last time anyone heard from him, he was suspended indefinitely for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement from a previous ban.

Grade: F

Trade No. 2 - April 28, 2018

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired: Ryan Switzer

Gave Up: Jihad Ward

Result: The 2016 NFL draft was not Reggie McKenzie’s best work to say the least. Ward was one of the earliest players to get moved from the McKenzie era by Gruden. Switzer never started a regular season game for the Raiders. He was traded to the Steelers for a 5th round pick. The Raiders then moved that pick in a draft day trade with the Bills and eventually ended up with Hunter Renfrow, who was playing way above his draft pick until his untimely injury.

Grade: F (trading for Switzer)

A+ (trading Switzer for picks that led to Renfrow)

Trade No. 3 - March 13, 2019

NFL: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired: He Who Must Not Be Named

Gave Up: 2019 3rd Round Pick, No. 66 overall and a 5th Round Pick, No. 141

Result: In the span of what felt like a lifetime, but was only a couple of months, the clown’s behavior got him released from the Raiders. Then the clown’s legal issues got him released from the Patriots. I want to say that no one saw this coming, but…….

Grade: F-

Trade No. 4 - September 19, 2019

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired: Trevor Davis

Gave Up: 2020 6th Round Pick


The Raiders cut him after this game, and now he’s on the Miami Dolphins. The pick is relatively inconsequential, but I’m still irritated about this play. It was Davis’ only offensive snap of the game

Grade: F

Trade No. 5 - October 8, 2019

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Acquired: Zay Jones

Gave Up: 2021 5th Round Pick

Result: Last year, Jones led the Bills in receiving yards with 652 and 56 receptions. He’s had a hard time finding his fit in this Raiders offense, but his production in college was no joke. He’s been elevated to the starting Z receiver role but hasn’t received enough targets to realistically understand his fit moving forward. This trade is going to get an incomplete for right now. I’d like to see what Jones does next year.

Grade: Incomplete


NFL: Oakland Raiders at Arizona Cardinals Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Let this man do his job.


NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Cleveland Browns Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports