After six excellent years with the Silver and Black, the Oakland Raiders have opted to released punter Marquette King. He will be a free agent.
It’s clearly a new era in Oakland Raiders. You know, the last time Jon Gruden was the Raiders’ head coach Marquette King wasn’t there punter. That might be the only logical reason for this because salary cap ramifications, as the Raiders just released King in the midst of his prime on Friday afternoon.
Oakland parted ways with King, along with tight end Clive Walford, who was waived. King went undrafted out of Fort Valley State in 2012. He was able to unseat one of the greatest punters of all time in Shane Lechler in Oakland. King is 29 years old and will be entering year seven in the NFL when he signs elsewhere.
Known for his ability to pin the opposition deep in their own territory, as well as his celebrations, King has become one of the most popular punters in the NFL. He is also the only African-American punter in the league. Though never a Pro Bowler, King has been knocking on the door for that honor for some time now.
It’s strange to see a team like the Raiders part with one of their best 10 players willingly. Keep in mind this is a franchise that has historically taken great pride in special teams excellence. The Raiders have given us guys like King, Lechler, Sebastian Janikowski, George Blanda and above all, Ray Guy over the years. Even Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown was brilliant in the return game in his first few years out of Notre Dame. This move by the Raiders is certainly head-scratching.
Then again, Oakland did part ways with return specialist/wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson after one year in the Bay Area. Perhaps Gruden has a completely new plan for what he wants to do on special teams. He was able to pry his former Tampa Bay Buccaneers colleague and Dallas Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia this offseason.
King was under contract through the 2020 NFL season with a potential out entering this season. He signed a five-year deal worth $16.5 million back in 2016. Given the Reggie McKenzie was the general manager of the Raiders that gave King that deal, this move has to be entirely based on Gruden returning to the organization. Look for the Raiders’ trash to end up being someone’s treasure. King is too good to be unemployed for long.