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Gruden emphasizes not picking up Karl Joseph’s fifth-year option doesn’t mean he isn’t part of Raiders future

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

Last week the Raiders decided not to exercise their fifth-year option on safety Karl Joseph, meaning he will be a free agent after the year is over. However, just because the option wasn’t picked up does not close the door on his return to the Raiders beyond 2019.

“That does not mean that we don’t want Karl with us this year and in the future,” Gruden said before the Raiders’ rookie minicamp Friday. “All that means is we didn’t exercise his fifth-year option. If you really study the fifth-year option and what it entails, it entails a lot. That does not mean, by any means, that we don’t want Karl Joseph as a captain or a leader on this team, now and in the future.”

If we do take a look at what the fifth-year option entails, it would mean the Raiders pay Joseph about $6.5M in 2020. There is very little in Joseph’s body of work that would imply he is worth that figure, unless we believe that his sparkling play will continue forthwith.

And if it does, then the Raiders will quite likely offer Joseph a new contract extension at a price befitting his level of play. They will have to compete against other teams to do so at that point, but Joseph will be offered a fair deal and if he leaves it will be because another team overpaid and not because he wasn’t wanted.

The Raiders certainly have contingencies in place if Joseph walks; they drafted safety Johnathan Abram in the first round last month and signed Lamarcus Joyner to a four-year deal. Hopefully Joseph will play up to his huge potential in the coming season and earn a new contract with the Silver and Black.