Jon Gruden will be named the next head coach of the Oakland Raiders at a press conference on Tuesday, according to league sources, with him leaving ESPN following the broadcast of Saturday night's wild-card game. The former and future coach of the Raiders will receive a 10-year deal that will pay him about $10 million per year.
Gruden is deep into putting a staff together, with his coordinators already on board, and changes coming to the Raiders front office as well, the sources said. Reggie McKenzie will remain as the Raiders general manager, but other additions are coming to the personnel side. McKenzie will report to an Executive Vice President of Football Operations, who will oversee talent acquisition, and Gruden would also like to add a younger executive to the staff as well, sources said, to buttress personnel.
The Raiders will formally hire Paul Guenther (defensive coordinator), Greg Olson (offensive coordinator) and Rich Bisaccia (special teams coordinator) once the Gruden hire becomes official. Oakland already complied with the Rooney Rule this week by interviewing two qualifying candidates, with John Wooten of the Fritz Pollard Alliance telling me he was comfortable with the way the Raiders handled the situation.
Gruden has been the primary target for Raiders owner Mark Davis as his head coach since shortly after patriarch Al Davis passed away. He has made numerous attempts to land Gruden -- who previously coached the Raiders and then beat them in the Super Bowl following his blockbuster trade to Tampa Bay -- in the past, including several instances where he believed he was getting him, only for Gruden to remain in the broadcast booth. While a return to the Raiders always had a unique appeal for Gruden, in the past ownership did not have a path to the revenue streams others teams enjoy via their state-of-the-art stadiums. Now, with the move to Las Vegas already approved, this franchise can reap those same financial rewards and be as competitive as Gruden would like from a fiscal standpoint.
Sources said Gruden and Davis have had meetings before going back six years, during which he was offered essentially record-setting coaching compensation and the ability to restructure the organization. While there has never been an discussion of owning a piece of the franchise -- contrary to some reports -- Davis has repeatedly made strong pitches to Gruden, including most recently prior to him hiring Jack Del Rio.
But now Gruden is at a point in his life -- his youngest child will be a senior in high school next year -- and his broadcasting career ("Monday Night Football" hasn't had the same cache and top games in recent years) where a return to the sideline was more real than ever. As we reported back in November, many coaches and NFL people close to Gruden were convinced by Thanksgiving that Gruden, who has toyed with putting together coaching staffs in the past, was actually intent on doing it, and with both of his former head-coaching franchises (Oakland and Tampa Bay) mulling coaching changes, the odds were greater than ever of a return.
The Buccaneers opted not to put together the kind of package it would require to land Gruden, opting instead to tell Dirk Koetter last week that he was being retained for 2018, while Davis was well on his way to making a reunion with Gruden happen. Given the extent of their previous dealings, working out a contract was essentially a fait acompli, given the template of past arrangements, it was more a matter of Gruden fully committing to take the position and thrust himself back into the hectic, all-consuming lifestyle of an NFL head coach.