Jon Gruden: Players are 'dying to play' for the Raiders

The Oakland Raiders are in a tailspin with a 1-6 record and are viewing the future after trading away Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper.

While the prospects for the remainder of the 2018 regular season are bleak, head coach Jon Gruden apparently has reasons to believe things will turn around.

"I got a cellphone just like you and everybody else," Gruden told FOX Sports’ Howie Long in an interview, which will air before Thursday’s Bay Area TNF showdown. "I get a lot of phone calls from people that are dying to come play here. I’m just telling you. They’re dying to play for the Raiders.

"And to have salary-cap space and to have a chance to talk to the people that you really want to wear the Silver and Black, the guys you really want to wear the Silver and Black and represent this team, that’s exciting."

Whether they were players currently under contract with another team or free agents, Gruden didn’t reveal names. And it’s probably good thing on the former scenario when considering the league’s tampering rules.

Gruden, who is in the first year of a 10-year contract, showed willingness this season to dismantle the roster he inherited on his return to the sidelines. But he has a point on having plenty of ammunition in 2019 to make improvements.

The trades of Mack and Cooper gave the Raiders’ decision-makers three extra first-round picks, and the Raiders will have three picks in the first round in next year’s draft.

Oakland is also projected to have $75.2 million in available cap space in 2019, according to Over the Cap, signaling the team will have opportunities to be active during free agency.

The key now for Gruden to prove he is worth the massive $100 million contract he signed is to hit on the first-round picks with a trio of blue-chip prospects and sign some of the players he says are dying to play for the Raiders.

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