Why the Raiders were right to cut Bruce Irvin

Dec 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack (52) and outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) react during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Raiders won 19-16. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

After two and a half seasons with the organization, the Oakland Raiders are releasing edge rusher, Bruce Irvin.

Per Vic Tafur of the Athletic, the Raiders are letting go of Irvin, who they were unable to trade before the deadline. Does the move make sense for the Raiders? Let’s take a look.

Through eight games, Irvin is the Raider’s sack leader with a measly three sacks. That should show how anemic the team’s pass rush has been this season, but we will leave that alone for now. Despite having three sacks, Irvin only has six tackles thus far, which honestly seems hard to do.

Following the Khalil Mack trade, Irvin was named a defensive captain and was expected to lead the Raiders defense. A task that he proved he was capable of in the first two seasons in Oakland. However, things did not necessarily go as planned.

Jon Gruden is blowing up the Raiders roster and is essentially starting from scratch. A bold strategy for someone who has never proven that he is capable of building a team.

At 1-8, the Raiders have really good odds of earning the number one overall pick. They also have two additional first round picks that they acquired through trading Mack and Amari Cooper. What is happening in Oakland is known as a ‘total rebuild,’ and this move confirms that. Not that anyone was still questioning it, though.

As evidenced by his play on the field, Irvin flat-out quit on the team. He was barely running on most plays, and quite frankly, it was frustrating to watch.

However, it makes sense. At 31-years-old, an established veteran who is accustomed to winning is not going to enjoy playing for a roster that is bereft of talent and is very clearly tanking. What is the point in holding a player like that hostage?

This is ideal for Irvin as he is now able to join a team that is chasing a playoff spot and needs to add depth to their roster. Teams like the Chargers and Saints could make sense as destinations. They both could use more help in the pass rush due to injuries to key players.

Nonetheless, this was the logical move for the Raiders to make. They are allowing Irvin to make a difference on a competitive team and they are aiding their goal of tanking by removing their highest-paid defensive player from the roster. All in all, it makes sense for the Raiders, and it is the best case scenario for Irvin.