As they try to build the roster and prepare for another draft, the Las Vegas Raiders have given up on two Jon Gruden draft picks from 2018 who should have been fundamental pieces of the 2021 roster.
The team announced that they have released defensive tackle Maurice Hurst and defensive end Arden Key. They also cut quarterback Kyle Sloter, who had no chance of making the team.
We have waived DT Maurice Hurst and DE Arden Key and released QB Kyle Sloter. pic.twitter.com/0kjZH4NuSl— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 15, 2021
The release of Hurst and Key will give the Raiders about $4.5 million in salary-cap room, but they were both on reasonable rookie deals. They may need to cut a couple of other players as they need cap room to sign their draft class, players on the open market and have some emergency money for the season.
It’s been that type of offseason for Las Vegas. It has been cutting veterans to sign free agents.
Hurst and Key were both key figures in the 2018 draft, the first of Gruden’s return. Key was a third-round pick and Hurst was a fifth-round pick. The Raiders were excited about both players. Key fell in the draft because of character concerns and Hurst had medical concerns. However, neither of those issues were a problem for the players in the NFL.
Of the nine-player 2018 draft class, only left tackle Kolton Miller and backup tackle Brandon Parker have a reasonable chance of making the roster. That is not great.
Hurst was a better player than Key for the Silver and Black. He started 17 games in three seasons and was a rotational player.
The Raiders added defensive tackle Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson and Darious Philon in free agency. Thomas will likely start with Johnathan Hankins, who was re-signed in free agency. Clearly, the Raiders thought Hurst was expendable. Expect him to sign elsewhere and be on a 2021 NFL roster.
Key was a big disappointment. He had a total of three sacks in three seasons. The Raiders have added several pass rushers in the past two years and clearly, the franchise ran out of patience with Key.
So, the Raiders’ roster merry go-round continues to spin.