When the Las Vegas Raiders signed running back Kenyan Drake to a two-year $11 million contract in free agency in 2021, the move raised a lot of eyebrows around the league.
It was a massive commitment to give a backup at a position that is not considered a premium spot to spend money. Yet, then-Raiders’ coach and primary decision maker Jon Gruden loved Drake and thought he’d be the missing link to the offense. Drake, who’s season ended in early December, had just 254 yards rushing and 291 yards receiving for the Raiders, is now a former Raider.
NFL Media is reporting that the new Las Vegas regime has decided to cut ties with Drake.
NFL reporter Josina Anderson reports that the Raiders are holding out hope that they can still trade Drake, but either way, he is on his way out of Las Vegas.
My understanding is the #Raiders will still keep an ear to the phone for potential 11th-hour trade inquiries for RB Kenyan Drake, but the clear-cut intention remains to move on either way, per league source.— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 22, 2022
Just got off the phone w/ RB Kenyan Drake on the #Raiders moving on: "I'm just vibing at the crib right now. I'm just waiting on the next 24 hours. I don't think anyone would trade for me just because of the contract situation, either way Raiders have to pay me. I'm at peace..1/6— JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) August 22, 2022
The Raiders added Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden in free agency and drafted Zamir White and Brittain Brown to go along with Josh Jacobs. Abdullah had a better summer than Drake, 28, and now he is out the door in Las Vegas.
Drake’s release comes at a cost. The Raiders are eating a total of $8.8 million in dead salary-cap room, including $3.6 million this year. Las Vegas ended up paying Drake $11 million for one injury-shortened season.
With Drake out, the Raiders will now have 83 players on the roster and need to trim four more players from the roster by Tuesday afternoon and have to get down to 53 players by Aug. 30.