ALAMEDA — Defensive end Bruce Irvin, whose playing time has decreased dramatically in the past two games, has been released by the Raiders, according to a team source.
The news was first reported by The Athletic.
Irvin played just nine snaps in a 34-3 loss to the 49ers Thursday night. Counted upon to provide an outside pass rush for the Raiders, especially after the trade of Khalil Mack, Irvin has a team-high three sacks but has been largely ineffective on a team with the NFL’s worst pass rush.
In the third year of a four-year contract, Irvin was scheduled to make $8 million this season. With his contract not guaranteed, the Raiders will save more than $3.7 million in salary — what Irvin was scheduled to be paid the remainder of the season.
An outside linebacker for three seasons, Irvin was moved to end this season with the thinking he’d be exclusively a pass rusher rather than having responsibilities in pass coverage.
Last season, with Mack on the other side, Irvin had a eight sacks, which tied his career high.
In Mack’s absence, Irvin, despite the three sacks, has pretty much been a non-factor. He had only six tackles all season.
Asked about Irvin’s decrease in playing time Friday, coach Jon Gruden said Irvin hasn’t played as much the past two games because the Raiders weren’t playing a lot of nickel defense because of down and distance and that Irvin’s job was to rush the passer.
“We weren’t in our nickel defense very much,” Gruden said. “Remember we’re a 3-4 team, we’re not a 3-4. So in the base defense, sometimes he doesn’t fit the role we need done. No disrespect to Bruce. He’s an edge rusher. We haven’t had a lead. We haven’t had the opposition behind in the chains a lot. So his role has been reduced.
“I know he’s frustrated. I’m frustrated. We’ll try to solve that as soon as possible. He’s good player.”
Irvin, 31, is the second veteran departure in two weeks, following the mid-season retirement of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.