Raiders Rumors: 3-Time Pro Bowler Rodney Hudson Released by Las Vegas

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 16, 2021

Las Vegas Raiders' Rodney Hudson (61) before an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)
Noah K. Murray/Associated Press

The Las Vegas Raiders are releasing veteran center Rodney Hudson, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The departure of the three-time Pro Bowler would follow the trade of offensive tackle Trent Brown to the New England Patriots.

Rapoport and ESPN's Field Yates speculated Hudson may not have to wait long to get calls from other teams:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

Rodney Hudson will be immediately coveted. The #AZCardinals have been on the hunt for a center. That would make a lot of sense. https://t.co/eFKd2XXFJt

Field Yates @FieldYates

I don’t say this lightly: Rodney Hudson is in the conversation for the most reliable offensive lineman in the league. He’s an absolute anchor in the middle of the line and still playing great ball at the age of 32. Every team that needs a center should call him right away.

The Los Angeles Chargers struck an agreement with Corey Linsley on a five-year, $62.5 million contract, per NFL Network's Mike Garafolo and Tom Pelissero. That took the best center off the board in free agency, and now Hudson suddenly becomes available.

Gregg Bell @gbellseattle

Mentioned how there'd be out-of-nowhere cuts of high-quality linemen this free-agency period in particular. Rodney Hudson is a gift from offensive-line heaven for a contending team. #Seahawks suddenly have a new option to consider at center. How much can they/are willing to pay?

The NFL's salary cap is falling from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million in 2021, forcing teams around the league to make difficult cuts for financial purposes.

Were the Raiders to designate Hudson as a post-June 1 cut, they'd have to absorb $7.2 million in dead money in 2021 and $8.4 million in 2022, per Spotrac. However, Las Vegas would save $6.4 million in cap space for the upcoming season.

Still, many will question whether that savings is worth losing him.

Marcus Mosher @Marcus_Mosher

Rodney Hudson being released is easily the most shocking thing that has happened in free agency so far.

Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN

From @ESPNStatsInfo: Over the last 4 years, Rodney Hudson has the third highest Pass Block Win Rate among NFL centers in the NFL, sustaining 95.0% of his pass blocks for at least 2.5 seconds. His PBWR last year was 93.7%, slightly below his average in that span but still 15th. https://t.co/cD0yJw6pU3

Head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock apparently want to start with a clean slate when it comes to the offensive line. Hudson is the third starting lineman gone following the trade of Brown and the release of Gabe Jackson.

Improving the unit made sense this offseason, but that level of turnover could be counterproductive, especially considering Hudson in particular has continued to play at a high level.