Presumably, not too many people analyzed the 2017 Oakland Raiders and came to the conclusion that punter Marquette King was the problem.
Yet, a couple weeks into free agency, the Raiders cut their popular punter.
In a strange and sudden move on a Friday afternoon, the Raiders announced King had been cut. King’s 47.4 yards per punt was sixth in the NFL last season among regular punters, and his 42.7-yard net average was third among regular punters.
King is a pretty good punter, but is probably best known for his celebrations after punts (it’s hard to beat him riding a horse after a good punt). Bill Williamson of RaidersSnakepit.com said he was told the release of King was a “message” and led by new coach Jon Gruden.
This has been a curious offseason for the Raiders, since Gruden got the coaching job and gained power in the front office. While Gruden’s comment this offseason about throwing the game back to 1998 seemed to be said mostly in jest, a lot of the moves the Raiders have made have been to acquire aging veterans. The spotlight has been on Gruden, especially after his record-setting contract, and some of the Raiders’ moves have been odd.
It’s not often that punter transactions draw much attention. But King had a pretty high profile for a punter, did his job well, and now he’s gone in another questionable move as part of a head-scratching Raiders’ offseason.
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