The Las Vegas Raiders have a big offseason ahead of them if they hope to take that next step into the playoffs in the 2021 NFL season.
While the team relies heavily on their young core of players to step up, they will still need a healthy dose of veteran experience to take them to that next level. Unfortunately, they have had some bad luck when it comes to keeping them around.
Running back Theo Riddick became the first player to retire after testing positive for COVID-19. Linebacker James Olwualu then followed up by hanging up his cleats after just three seasons.
Offensive lineman Sam Young has now become the third player in the last week to announce his retirement, via Tashan Reed of The Athletic:
Three #Raiders have retired in the past week: RB Theo Riddick, LB James Onwualu and OT Sam Young.
This isn't normal, right? https://t.co/1x5DOeVTQl
— Tashan Reed (@tashanreed) August 3, 2021
Three retirements in the same week is a strange turn of events, to say the least. Despite this being a somewhat ominous sign, the departures make room for players on the roster bubble through training camp.
Young entered the league as a sixth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He became quite a journeyman throughout his career after bouncing around from fur more teams prior to joining the Raiders.
Young was picked up by Las Vegas last offseason, and the move ultimately proved to pay some major dividends due to the state o their injury-riddled offensive line. This allowed Young to appear in 11 games while making a career-high seven starts.
With Young now gone, Brandon Parker will have a chance to maintain his role as a key backup at tackle. Parker boasts more experience than Jarryd Jones-Smith and could be tasked with stepping up if Kolton Miller or Alex Leatherwood cannot go.
As for the Raiders, it will be interesting to see if there are any more sudden retirements announcements before the offseason concludes.