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Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie Fired After 6-Plus Seasons with Team

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2018

Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie stands on the field before an NFL football game between the Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Ben Margot/Associated Press

The Oakland Raiders confirmed in a statement they fired general manager Reggie McKenzie on Monday.

"We are grateful for everything Reggie has done for this organization as a player, executive and member of the Raider family," the team said. "We wish the best for Reggie, June and the entire McKenzie family."

Prior to the announcement, McKenzie reportedly informed the team's scouts he had been fired, according to Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL.com.

"He was given the chance to stay the season but is not expected to do so," per that report.

Rapoport reported college scouting director Shaun Herock will become the "de facto interim GM" and will likely get an interview for the permanent position.

The divide between McKenzie's vision and head coach Jon Gruden's for the future of the team appeared to lead to the decision:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

#Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie build this team up with no picks and no cap space into a playoff team. HIs reputation is excellent. But with Jon Gruden building his own scouting staff (https://t.co/fCqdg3Yepn) this was inevitable. It happened today.

Vic Tafur @VicTafur

Gruden and McKenzie tried to make it work. And they actually like each other. But it was always awkward. Especially when a lot of Reggie’s players were cut, traded or benched.

As for that separate scouting department, Rapoport wrote in September:

"Gruden essentially has his own staff that helps him judge talent and make decisions—most notably confidant and Director of Football Research Dave Razzano—along with a slew of interns and assistants.

"Gruden had his own draft board and has his own pro board, separate from those used by others in the organization. ...

"Certain scouts and evaluators [weaned] under McKenzie are frustrated that Gruden has his guys, who make up a group that spearheaded the signing of several veteran free agents, the jettisoning of many previous draft picks and the trade of Khalil Mack."

The trades of Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper will define Gruden's tenure. The team received Chicago's 2019 and 2020 first-round picks, a third-rounder in 2020 and a sixth-rounder in 2019 for Mack and a 2020 second-rounder plus a 2020 conditional fifth-round pick. For Cooper, it netted Dallas' 2019 first-rounder. Both players have thrived for their new teams, with the Bears and Cowboys pushing for division titles in large part because of their new playmakers.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are 3-10 and clearly in a rebuilding phase.

How Oakland uses those picks to reshape its roster will determine the foreseeable future of the organization. Given that Gruden had already compiled a scouting department separate from McKenzie, it was clear the two sides were unlikely to see eye-to-eye on how to best use those picks. And given that the Raiders have parted with McKenzie, it's even more clear Gruden's voice is the most important within the organization, at least when it comes to personnel decisions.

But while the news wasn't a surprise, McKenzie will likely find a number of suitors this offseason given the work he did in Oakland before Gruden's hiring:

Bill Barnwell @billbarnwell

No GM in the modern NFL inherited a worse situation than Reggie McKenzie. (Nobody needs an editor more than me.) https://t.co/8GtRrwII8O

John Clayton @JohnClaytonNFL

Everyone knew the Raiders would part ways with GM Reggie McKenzie. No surprise but he did good work with Raiders. Sad

The Raiders will move forward with Gruden at the helm, with his power solidified after Monday's news.

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