There has been only one report of the Oakland Raiders actually offering their defensive coordinator position to someone. That someone was Todd Grantham, the defensive coordinator for Louisville. Unfortunately for the Raiders, Grantham chose to stay in Louisville instead.
At first glance, the fact that the Raiders were turned down by a college coach is just a bad look. This is a team that’s struggled to get both coaches and players to come to Oakland. When Reggie McKenzie hired Dennis Allen, it was likely due to the fact that basically no one else would take the job. With the signing of Jack Del Rio, things started to look better. No, Del Rio was not a hot name in the head coaching market, but he was also not an unknown like Allen.
But this is a particularly unique case. Sure, Grantham is a college coach who has been rumored to be seeking a move to the NFL. But he is also one of the highest-paid coordinators in football. He has four more years on his contract with Louisville, each of which is valued at roughly $1 million, fully guaranteed. Not many coordinators in the NFL make that much money, let alone in college. Plus, the Raiders only offered a two-year deal, something that is pretty standard in the NFL but half the amount of time left in his current contract. Thus, taking the Raiders job would have meant both a pay cut and two fewer years of security.
So is it shocking that Grantham turned down the Raiders? No. Is it still a bad look for the Raiders? Yes. Here’s the deal, it’s not like Grantham was their first choice. According to the majority of beat writers in the Bay Area, this is at a minimum plan B and possibly plan C for the Silver and Black. Though it is the only reported rejection, you have to assume the Raiders have already been rejected by at least one NFL coach (Mike Smith) and likely more. It’s not the end of the world, but one has to wonder what the Raiders were thinking offering the job to a college coach who by all appearances was no lock to leave his job.
Public perception is not everything and certainly does not help you win on Sundays, but to think it doesn’t matter at all is shortsighted. Potential free agents are paying attention. For some it won’t matter — guys like Terrance Knighton are more concerned with the fact that Del Rio is there and that’s enough. But for guys concerned with winning right away, seeing a college coach reject the job can be seen as a sign that the team is still a ways away from being competitive. Yeah, I know that the Raiders ARE still a ways away from being competitive, but if they had hired a high quality staff with big names, it would have taken them a step closer.
News about the Raiders has slowed since they have hired most of their staff, so all there is to focus on now is the defensive coordinator hire. People have been waiting on the edge of their seats to hear any news about the position, but after two weeks of searching, the big news was that they offered a contract to Grantham and he declined. It could end up being a blessing in disguise. However, until we find out what the result is on the field, there will be a lot of talk about the fact that the Raiders were rejected by a college coach.
Oh well, at least they haven’t been rejected by basically every coach like their Bay Area neighbors …