When the Oakland Raiders cut talented punter Marquette King on Friday, New York Giants fans were quick to jump on the “sign him up!” bandwagon. After all, the Giants recently cut their own punter, Brad Wing, and are on the lookout for an upgrade.
King, talent-wise, is definitely that. In 2017, his 47.4-yrds per punt average was sixth in the NFL. The Raiders were third overall in net average per punt at 42.4 yards. With Wing, the Giants were last at 36.7 yards.
Question is, who would Jon Gruden and the Raiders cut bait on a player with King’s ability?
Answers have begun to emerge, and for a Giants team looking to improve their culture as much as their talent those answers could give the Giants pause as they consider whether to make a run at King.
SB Nation’s Silver and Black Pride had this to say after King’s release:
We are still in the midst of shock from the Raiders releasing of punter Marquette King. It’s been only a short time since the move was made official, and the knee jerk reactions are all over the map. Some are angry, some confused, some understand, and others are downright thrilled with it.
And to be honest, I can’t really argue too passionately with any of these reactions.
King was a strange bird. Some people loved that about him. Others hated it. Some didn’t care about his antics off the field, they just hated when it made its way onto the field and drew flags.
The Athletic had this to say:
But people in the building and King’s teammates were not too surprised at his being released. The flamboyant social media star was perceived as hard to handle and teammates looked at him differently after a 2017 Pro Bowl tweet that showed him having his chain playfully tugged by then-Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib.
Talib had snatched off receiver Michael Crabtree’s chain in a 2016 game, and then did it again last season, that time inciting a brawl that saw both Crabtree and Talib ejected.
On top of that, King was a bit of a showboat and hot head at times on the field, and was called for four personal fouls in the last two seasons.
Gruden was unavailable for comment Friday, but clearly the idea of paying $3.05 million to a punter that you weren’t totally in love with didn’t sit well with the new coach. Especially when you have so many holes on the roster still, and the salary-cap space was running low after signing or re-signing 21 players this month.
Clearly, King’s flamboyance has rubbed some people the wrong way. As the Giants try to rebuild not only their roster but a fractured locker room, should they avoid adding a player like King to the mix?