The Oakland Raiders haven't had a good 2017 season. After making the playoffs last year, many expected the team to take a big step forward.
That hasn't happened, though, as the Raiders are 6-9 heading into their final game of the regular season. That record, coupled with the major step back Oakland took this year, may end up costing coach Jack Del Rio his job.
However, the Raiders apparently already have a potential replacement for Del Rio in mind and are willing to make him a huge offer.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen, the Raiders are planning to target Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden and are ready to offer him an ownership stake in the team as well:
"The Oakland Raiders are preparing to pursue ESPN analyst Jon Gruden with an offer so strong it could even include an ownership stake in the team, according to league sources.
"Gruden will be tempted to accept it, according to sources, but would prefer not to make any decisions until the regular season finishes Sunday and the Raiders make a final determination on their current head coach, Jack Del Rio, who signed a contract extension last summer."
Del Rio's fate will likely be determined after Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers, which will be played in Los Angeles.
Gruden has yet to say either way whether or not he's interested in the Oakland job - a job he previously held from 1998 to 2001 before leaving to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He said he does talk to plenty of people around the league during the year, though:
"I don't want to sit here and speculate. ... There is no news to report," Gruden said Saturday. "I can't say I haven't taken any phone calls. I take a lot every year from coaches, some others. ... Yeah, sometimes owners. Guys want to bounce ideas off me. I'm here to help people."
Gruden is also, interestingly, being linked to the Bucs should they have an opening at head coach, which is certainly a possibility. The ESPN analyst was also heavily linked to the open Tennessee Volunteers job earlier this offseason, but nothing serious materialized there.
With the Raiders preparing for a move to Las Vegas in 2020, it's clear the owner, Mark Davis, wants a big-time head coach in place to stoke fan interest. There is perhaps no name bigger than Gruden's out there on the coaching market, so it will be interesting to see where he ends up in 2018.
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