Oakland Raiders

Raiders are paying Trent Brown a lot to be a right tackle

His salary says he’s being paid like a left tackle, but Trent Brown is slated to play right tackle for the Oakland Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders made a big splash early in free agency, giving Trent Brown a four-year, $66 million deal with $36.75 million in guaranteed money. That salary level would usually put someone like Brown in line to play left tackle, as he did for the New England Patriots last season.

But according to ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden confirmed that 2018 first-round pick Kolton Miller will continue to protect Derek Carr’s blind side and Brown will play right tackle.

Brown primarily played right tackle during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, so the spot is not foreign to him and it’s worth noting Von Miller of the AFC West rival Denver Broncos plays on the left side of the defense. But Pro Football Focus graded Brown out as above average at left tackle last year, and if only based on what they’re paying him it was presumed he would stay there with the Raiders.

Miller was widely regarded as a reach with the 15th overall pick in the 2018 draft, and he delivered to that level as a rookie. His overall grade from Pro Football Focus (48.2) ranked 67th of 70 offensive tackles who played at least 400 snaps. Out of 85 offensive tackles to play 400-plus snaps as a rookie since 2006 (“the PFF Era”), Miller’s overall grade ranks 81st and his run blocking grade (44.1) is dead-last. He also allowed a league-high 16 sacks.

Miller played through a Week 4 knee injury for the rest of the season, then added an elbow injury to it in Week 9. That Week 4 game is the mark for the decline in his play, as PFF credited him with just five total pressures and zero sacks allowed from Week 1-3 (117 pass blocking snaps).

From Week 4-17 last year, via PFF, Miller was last among all tackles in pressures allowed, sacks allowed, pressure percentage allowed and pass blocking efficiency.

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The Raiders want to give Miller a mulligan for what was clearly an injury-depleted rookie season, while also not uprooting him with a position switch. Nothing has to be locked in right now, but it looks like Brown will be a well-compensated right tackle for at least his first season as a Raider.

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