Oakland Raiders’ General Manager Reggie McKenzie’s tenure with the team has come to an end. The Raiders announced on Monday that McKenzie had been “released from his duties” as GM and the team will begin the search for his replacement.
McKenzie was hired by the Raiders during a tumultuous transition period for the franchise in January 2012. After owner Al Davis died in 2011, his son Mark hired McKenzie to run the football side of the organization.
However, when head coach Jon Gruden was hired this year, Gruden was given full control over both the coaching staff and personnel — essentially rendering McKenzie’s position moot.
McKenzie and Gruden were able to work together for nearly a full season but it was clear that McKenzie’s power had lessened.
McKenzie had three notable acquisitions during his time as Oakland’s GM. He drafted defensive lineman Khalil Mack and quarterback Derek Carr in 2014. He later drafted receiver Amari Cooper in 2015. All three became Pro Bowl players with the Raiders and McKenzie’s roster building culminated in a playoff berth for the Raiders in 2016.
Gruden felt the need to shake the roster up when he joined the Raiders. Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears prior to the 2018 season and Cooper was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in October Both moves were made at the direction of Gruden, although McKenzie negotiated the trades.
In October, McKenzie told reporters that Gruden was not forcing him out of the organization.
“Let’s make no mistakes about it,” McKenzie said at the time. “[Gruden] pushing me out, that’s not happening,” McKenzie said, according to The Athletic. McKenzie’s exit made it clear that Gruden and the Raiders wanted to move in a different direction.
“We are grateful for everything Reggie has done for this organization as a player, executive and member of the Raider family,” the Raiders said in a press release.
McKenzie was given a four-year extension by owner Mark Davis in 2016 and his contract was set to run through 2020. Gruden will have ample say in who McKenzie’s replacement will be now that McKenzie is gone.
Gruden spoke briefly on Monday and said he was “not surprised by anything” that happens when the team is 3-10, according to The Athletic.
The Raiders currently sit in last place in their division, and are still in contention for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
McKenzie was awarded the NFL’s executive of the year award after the Raiders made the playoffs in 2016, the highest honor a front office executive can receive.
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