NFL: Oakland Raiders-OTA
Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders caused plenty of people to scratch their heads when they executed a trade as part of their final roster cut-down on Saturday, sending rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. to the Miami Dolphins in a swap of 2021 draft picks. The Athletic reported shortly afterward that the Raiders were "happy to find a customer" for Bowden despite just spending the 80th overall pick on the Kentucky product, in large part because of perceived off-field concerns. But now general manager Mike Mayock has offered an explanation of his own.

"No. 1, it was a football decision only," Mayock said Sunday, per The Athletic's Tashan Reed. "Character, off the field, the kid did absolutely nothing wrong. We did all our homework on the kid off the field. He worked his tail off. He came to work every day. So this was completely a football decision. It had nothing to do with anything else.

"Quite frankly, I think the position change is a difficult one in any year, but it's exaggerated in a COVID-19 year with no offseason," Mayock continued, alluding to Bowden's unofficial move from wide receiver to running back. "You're taking a kid that was a slot receiver in '18, a quarterback in '19 and asking him to play running back in '20. Really the only other thing I'm going to say about it is that it was my call. He was not able to play today at the level expected. Because of that, we felt like we had to make a move. Again, it's 100 percent on me."

Mayock's remarks at least partially run counter to the notion that Bowden, 22, was also a concern outside of the running backfield. The Athletic's Vic Tafur reported Saturday that "some at the team facility" thought the rookie was "getting more and more distracted in Las Vegas" and might be a negative influence on fellow first-year playmakers Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette.

Either way, it's a true indictment on the Raiders, as Mayock noted. There's a reason teams almost never give up on Day Two draft picks within a year or two, let alone before said draft pick has taken a single snap with the team. Whether or not Vegas misjudged Bowden's character or on-field prospects, the club misjudged him rather severely. Even if Mayock is telling the truth, that Bowden was an instant and abject swing and a miss at the RB spot, it's not as if the Raiders couldn't have foreseen a shortened offseason coming, what with COVID-19 already disrupting the draft at which Vegas selected the rookie.

In any event, Bowden is expected to compete for touches behind Jordan Howard, Matt Breida, Myles Gaskin and Patrick Laird in Miami, his second NFL home in less than six months.