The Oakland Raiders sent a clear message to veteran players today — this is no longer Al Davis’ team — releasing corner back Stanford Routt less then a year after Davis signed the veteran to a lucrative five year $54.5 million dollar contract.
Routt was signed to the deal after a 2010 season where he earned the title of shutdown corner after allowing opposing quarterbacks only a 39.4% connection rate when throwing his direction.
The stat jumps out even more considering at that time phenom Nnamdi Asomugha was playing opposite Routt, and no teams thought it wise to pick on Asomugha over Routt.
Routt’s contract was a controversial one because Davis preferred to sign him over Asomugha, who was allowed to test the free agent market, where he would eventually sign on now to the now defunct “Dream Team” roster of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season Routt enjoyed on his best statistical seasons as a pro after accounting for 15 pass breaks, four interceptions, and 49 combined tackles.
Oakland is under going a transformation this off-season as they begin distancing themselves from the “Al Davis Raiders” of seasons past.
Davis passed away midway through the season, leaving the state of the franchise in flux.
Davis’ son Mark Davis was left to run football operations, and he would lean heavily on then head coach (Interim GM) Hue Jackson, who facilitated the trade of quarterback Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jackson was able run the Raiders as he saw fit which lead to problems in the locker room and with the coaching staff.
He was accused of being “drunk with power”, and after a disastrous 8-8 season new GM Reggie McKenzie promptly fired Jackson.
It was McKenzie’s first act as the teams new GM.
Since Oakland has moved on to hire a new head coach, selecting former New Orleans Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen, after hiring him away from the Denver Broncos where he was the acting defensive coordinator.
Allen has already begun rebuilding his coaching staff hiring Greg Knapp as the teams offensive coordinator, and Johnny Holland ans the linebackers coach and Keith Burns as the assistant special teams coach.
But McKenzie and Allen still have more hiring that needs to be done to round out the coaching staff.
As far as Routt goes he is likely only the first of many pricey veterans who could get the chop under McKenzie’s new regime.
He’ll likely catch on with another team in need of a corner — Dallas, New England, Cincinnati, and the Saints — immediately come to mind as possibilities.