Raiders Rant: What to do with Rolando McClain, the defensive JaMarcus Russell

Ezra Shaw

The Oakland Raiders re-instated Rolando McClain this week, but how should they handle him going forward?

The Oakland Raiders suspended Rolando McClain for two games and most everyone assumed that the troubled middle linebacker's days wearing the Silver and Black were over. Much to everyones surprise, McClain returned to practice on Wednesday and is slotted to be a back up and special teams player for the remainder of the season. This has drawn a lot of criticism and questions as to why the Raiders would allow McClain back on the team, especially after he spoke ill of the organization and expressed his desire to play for another team.

But despite the fact that McClain clearly has no future with the Raiders and despite the fact that he clearly does not add much, if anything to the team on the field, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen are probably making the right call. If the Raiders released McClain, they would be giving him exactly what he wants, and even worse, it would give him the opportunity to sign on with another team and potentially a team that is making a playoff run.

By doing that, the Raiders would not accomplish anything. The season is a lost cause, so any disruption caused by McClain in the remaining three games would have minimal impacts at best. This way, however, the Raiders may be able to salvage some value out of McClain. If the Raiders can trade McClain even for a late round pick in the off season, it will be better than getting nothing for the former first round pick. Finally, it sends a message to the other players on the Raiders roster. This is not how you conduct yourself if you are unhappy, and if you do conduct yourself in this way, you will not simply get released as you clearly want. When the suspension first happened, Dennis Allen stated that McClain would have to face the consequences for his actions, and that is exactly what the Raiders are making him do.

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