Raiders to release veteran DE, captain Irvin

NFL

ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders have told veteran defensive end Bruce Irvin they will release him, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, ending a star-crossed 2½-year tenure with the team.

Irvin was not on Saturday’s NFL wire, meaning he now cannot be released until 4 p.m. Monday. If and when he is released, he will go on waivers.

The Athletic first reported that Irvin was being released.

Irvin was named a defensive captain prior to the start of the season, but saw his playing time diminish greatly as he played only nine defensive snaps in Thursday night’s 34-3 loss at the San Francisco 49ers.

He made the switch from outside linebacker this offseason and was a bookend pass-rusher to Khalil Mack, before Mack was traded to the Chicago Bears on Sept. 1.

Irvin, who had career-high-tying eight sacks opposite Mack last season, struggled as the primary-pass rusher, recording three sacks in eight games, which leads the team. Oakland has a league-low seven sacks on the season.

Irvin rankled some in the organization when he told reporters after the Raiders’ 27-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in London, “We lost, but I’ve got a beautiful wife I get to go home to, boy. I’m going to try to make some babies, man.”

Under returning coach Jon Gruden, the Raiders have torn down a roster that was thought to have foundation pieces in place to replicate the 12-4 season of 2016 in Mack and Irvin on defense and quarterback Derek Carr and receiver Amari Cooper on offense. Only Carr remains, as Cooper was traded to the Dallas Cowboys on Oct. 22. Plus, veteran cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie retired last week.

Gruden was asked about Irvin’s diminished role on Friday.

“Well, last night, we weren’t in our nickel defense very much,” Gruden said. “Remember, we’re a 4-3 team, we’re not a 3-4. So in the base defense, sometimes he doesn’t fit the role that we need done. No disrespect to Bruce. He’s an edge rusher. We haven’t had a lead. We haven’t had the opposition behind in the chains a lot. So his role has been reduced. I know he’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. We’ll try to solve that as soon as possible. He’s a good player. He’s a good player.”

Just not with the Raiders, who are 1-7.

Irvin, who turned 31 on Thursday, had six tackles on the season, with one for a loss, and one forced fumble.

He had a base salary of $8 million this season, with a salary-cap number of $8.25 million, and was scheduled to make $9 million in 2019, with a cap number of $9.25 million. Next year’s salary was not guaranteed, though.

Coming into the season, Irvin took issue with Gruden saying it was rookie defensive end Arden Key‘s “time” and that Irvin “has to step up” in 2018.

“I just said, ‘I think you got it backwards,'” Irvin told ESPN at the time. “‘It’s Bruce Irvin’s time, and Arden Key’s got to step up.’

“I mean, at the end of the day, we’ve both got to step up,” Irvin added, “so it is what it is.”

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