ALAMEDA, Calif. -- You just knew Jon Gruden would not be able to contain himself, right?
After nine years in the broadcast booth, the new/returning Oakland Raiders coach was spoiling for a fight, so to speak. And when the deadline came for the team to turn in an initial 53-man roster last weekend, Gruden's fingerprints were all over Silver and Blackdom.
Rightly or wrongly, a dizzying Saturday at 1220 Harbor Bay Parkway set in motion a wild roster overhaul that will either elevate the Raiders to new heights or prove to be a season-crushing bombardment of transactions as they open the season Monday night at home against the Los Angeles Rams.
"Obviously, when it first happened, I'm like, 'Hold on,'" quarterback Derek Carr said, extending his arms and pushing his hands out for effect, "'I'm going to have to talk to some guys.'"
Carr was speaking specifically about the trade of two-time All-Pro edge rusher and 2016 NFL defensive player of the year Khalil Mack. But that was only the first move of the day, which came before dawn on the West Coast.
By the time the holiday weekend was done, the Raiders had not only jettisoned Mack, along with a 2020 second-round pick and a 2020 conditional fifth-rounder, to Chicago for the Bears' first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a sixth-rounder in 2019 and a third-rounder in 2020. But, they also ...
... waived receiver Martavis Bryant, whom they had acquired from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 2018 third-round draft pick.
... waived defensive lineman Mario Edwards Jr., an injury-plagued second-round pick in 2015 who started 24 of his 30 career games.
... acquired backup quarterback AJ McCarron, who knew nothing about Gruden's intricate offense, from the Buffalo Bills for a 2019 fifth-round pick, and waived two QBs in EJ Manuel and Connor Cook, both of whom had gone through the offseason program.
They also saw the NFL officially announce a four-game suspension for cornerback Daryl Worley for violating the league’s policy and program for substances of abuse and the personal conduct policy. Oakland signed Worley eight days after the Philadelphia Eagles cut him following his arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence along with weapons and disorderly conduct charges.
All this was done while culling together that initial 53-man roster, which, 24 hours later, would be amended with the signings of offensive tackles T.J. Clemmings and Justin Murray while releasing offensive tackles David Sharpe, a fourth-round pick in 2017, and Ian Silberman.
But they were not done, not with the Raiders signing receiver Brandon LaFell and claiming defensive tackle Brian Price off waivers and waiving receiver Johnny Holton and defensive tackle Treyvon Hester, a 2017 seventh-round pick, on Labor Day, while filling out a 10-man practice squad.
Need more proof that "Chucky" was not playing? Consider: Of the 50 players general manager Reggie McKenzie had drafted since 2012, only 10 survived to make this most current 53-man roster for Oakland -- Carr, right guard Gabe Jackson, defensive tackle Justin Ellis, offensive lineman Jon Feliciano, receiver Amari Cooper, strong safety Karl Joseph, defensive end Shilique Calhoun, running back DeAndre Washington, cornerback Gareon Conley and linebacker Marquel Lee, per the Associated Press.
Talk about turnover. Thirty-one players on the current roster did not spend any time on the Raiders' 53-man roster last season.
In fact, only one of the McKenzie's five second-round draft picks from 2013 through 2017 is still with the team in Carr, who was drafted in 2014 and whose five-year, $125 million extension signed in June 2017 made it hard for the Raiders to re-sign Mack at his asking price.
"It was kind of quiet when we first got here," rookie defensive end Arden Key said about hearing the news of Mack's departure.
"Very shocking. Khalil Mack's gone. We can't dwell on it. We've got to move forward and somebody's got to step up in his spot. ... I wish I could have been able to play with him."
Said defensive end Fadol Brown: "In the end, [Mack] got what he deserved."
As in Mack's record six-year, $141 million extension with $90 million guaranteed.
"An astronomical number," said Gruden, perhaps not aware of the optics with his reportedly being paid $100 million to coach the Raiders for the next 10 years. "It's phenomenal, I think, for the players, great for him, obviously, but that was something we could not do."
This is not a new phenomenon when it comes to the Raiders, their relatively poor draft history and inability or unwillingness to keep their own.
Since 2006, the Raiders have signed only two of their first-round draft picks to second contracts, defensive back Michael Huff and running back Darren McFadden, drafted in 2006 and 2008, respectively.
Oakland has already exercised the fifth-year option on Cooper for 2019, and he is represented by the same agent who engineered Mack's deal, Joel Segal.
In another year, Joseph's deal is up.
"Man, it was kind of shocking," Cooper said of the Mack trade. "But I don't know, you've just got to move on. He's not coming back, not this year, so we just have to adjust to it. We have a game to play Monday night so we've just got to be ready.
"It might be a shootout. We might have to go out there and score, you know, every possession. You never know."
Take comfort in this, then, or simply fret: Gruden was reportedly still putting offensive plays into the game plan late in the week.
“I’m just as excited and get the butterflies, you know,” Gruden said Saturday. “It’s the same way every year, especially opening day, it’s special. This is really special for me.
“I know there’s been a lot of news this week with what has happened, but I want to do everything I can to help bring the Raiders back. I really like the effort that our team has put forth, our coaching staff. It will be special going out there Monday night, that’s for sure.”