ALAMEDA (AP) — Less than one year ago, Al Davis made Stanford Routt one of the cornerstones of the Oakland Raiders defense with a lavish contract that kept him from free agency.
Routt became the first player casualty under the new regime with the Raiders.
Routt was released on Thursday just one year into a $54.5 million, five-year contract, ending his seven-year tenure in Oakland as the team heads in a new direction.
The move by new general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen signifies a change of approach from when Davis ran the team and was fiercely loyal to players he drafted.
Davis died Oct. 8, setting the stage for a busy offseason. McKenzie was hired in January and fired coach Hue Jackson after one season on his first official day on the job. He then began a coaching search that ended up with Allen, and now changes are being made to the roster even before free agency begins next month.
After the news conference announcing Allen's hiring on Jan. 30, McKenzie said the Raiders had some contracts that were "out of whack." Apparently, Routt's was one of them.
Routt got the big contract after grading out as one of the league's top cover cornerbacks in 2010. The opposition's 39.4 percent completion rate when throwing at him was the lowest of any player targeted at least 60 times that season, according to STATS LLC.
Davis gave Routt the big contract, while letting Pro Bowler Nnamdi Asomugha test free agency. Asomugha later signed with Philadelphia, making Routt the No. 1 cornerback in Oakland.
While he once again held opponents to a low completion percentage (47.4 percent) and allowed less than 6 yards per pass attempt for the season, according to STATS, he was susceptible to penalties and touchdowns. He was credited with allowing eight touchdown passes — tied for the second-most in the NFL — and led the league with 17 penalties committed, according to STATS.
More changes are sure to come on the Raiders, who have not had a winning record or made the playoffs since 2002. Oakland is coming off one of its worst defensive seasons ever during last year's 8-8 campaign.
The Raiders had franchise worsts in touchdown passes allowed (31), yards per carry (5.1), yards passing (4,262) and total yards (6,201), while giving up the third-most points (433) in team history. Oakland also became the sixth team since the 1970 merger to allow at least 2,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards passing in a season.
The Raiders also set an NFL record last season with 163 penalties for 1,358 yards.
Routt has played 110 games with 53 starts since being drafted in the second round by Oakland in 2005. He became a starter his third season before falling behind Chris Johnson on the depth chart in 2008-09. He worked his way back into the starting lineup in 2010 and was Oakland's top cornerback last season when he set career highs with four interceptions and 15 passes defensed.
Notes: The Raiders also hired two more assistant coaches, making Johnny Holland the linebackers coach and Keith Burns the assistant special teams coach. Holland spent the past five seasons in Houston, where he coached two AP NFL Defensive Rookies of the year in Demeco Ryans (2006) and Brian Cushing (2009). He had previously worked in Detroit and Green Bay. Burns has spent 28 years as a college coach, most recently with Mississippi.