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Thoughts on Raiders’ players decision to join OTA boycott

It’s a complicated situation

NFL: Oakland Raiders-Minicamp
Jon Gruden at minicamp
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, the Las Vegas Raiders players voted to take the advice of the NFL Players Association and boycott the in-person portion of the offseason workout program. Several other teams had previously decided to do the same.

Let’s look at some aspects of this complicated, multi-layered situation:

They really had no choice:
Several teams have already decided to boycott in-person OTAs and I expect more teams to do so. However, I bet if some teams decide to attend in-person workouts, the boycott will eventually end. This is about union unity and I think, in the end, all teams will either boycott or all will come in.

Jon Gruden’s reaction:
Surely, Gruden is pissed. He has voiced his support for bringing back in-person OTAs in the past. All coaches are pissed. But, I don’t think Gruden will resent his players for it. He gets the big picture.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Derek Carr, Jon Gruden
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Some players may participate:
There are some Raiders players who have workout bonuses in their contract and some of those players will likely report for the voluntary workouts. But for the most part, the team has decided to stay away. The virtual portion of the OTAs will go on, though.

The players will get their work in:
Expect the Raiders players to work out together in Las Vegas as they did during last year’s OTAs.

NFL: Player Headshots 2020
Amik Robertson
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Players it will most hurt:
It’s the young players, of course, starting with the rookie class. But second-year players such as wide receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards, and cornerbacks Damon Arnette and Amik Robertson need as much coaching as possible. Really, the entire defense needs the work as it transitions to Gus Bradley’s scheme. And of course, the new offensive line needs all the time it can get to work together. So this isn’t great ... but it’s happening all over the league.

It is all pandemic related?
It makes one wonder. It’s my opinion that the NFLPA sees this as an opportunity to try to make the offseason completely virtual permanently and they will do all they can to achieve that while they have a chance. The players aren’t thrilled about the 17-game season, so this is there opportunity to get something back. More power to them.

Bottom line:
It’s not ideal, but it happened last year and the season was just fine. It will be fine again.