Raiders shockingly cut punter Marquette King to save less than $3 million

In his long-awaited, hyped return to the NFL, Jon Gruden has wasted no time reshaping the Raiders' roster. The reconstruction process continued on Friday when the Raiders cut their best special teams player, punter Marquette King, in a shocking move. 

It seemingly came as a surprise to King too:

It's not often punter transactions qualify as big news, but this one's a shocker. According to Adam Caplan, the move saves the cap-strapped Raiders $2.9 million. Meanwhile, Vic Tafur of The Athletic reported that he'd heard rumors of a personality clash between Gruden and King, which seems weird considering the tweet above indicates that the two never met.

King, who certainly has an entertaining personality, is one of the game's best punters. In his five seasons as the Raiders' starting punter, he's averaged 46.8 yards per punt. Among punters who have played in at least 16 games since 2013, King ranks eighth in yards per punt. For the sake of comparison, consider that Rams punter Johnny Hekker, who is largely considered one of the best in the business, averages 47.1 yards per punt in his career while the recently retired Pat McAfee averaged 46.4 yards per punt in his career with the Colts. Last season, King ranked third in net punting average (42.7 yards).

Translation: King might not be the best punter in football, but he's in the upper tier. 

Since Gruden came aboard in January, the Raiders have made plenty of changes in every facet of the game -- including special teams. Long-time kicker Sebastian Janikowski, who missed the entire 2017 season with an injury, was shown the door in addition to special teams ace Cordarrelle Patterson, who was traded to the Patriots. The Raiders also signed long snapper Andrew DePaola to a contract that reportedly made him the highest-paid long snapper in football.

Most of the moves Gruden has made have led to more questions than solutions. Swapping out receiver Michael Crabtree for the old and injured Jordy Nelson might be a downgrade, signing an unproductive Doug Martin seems unnecessary, and that's all without listing the long list of older players that Gruden has added to a team that won six game last season. The release of King is another questionable decision to add to the list.

Meanwhile, teams in need of better production from their punters should give King a call. Suddenly, one of the best punters in football just hit the open market. He'll have suitors, that's for sure.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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