Carl Nassib, the first out gay active player in NFL history, is on the move.
The six-year veteran defensive end will be released by the Las Vegas Raiders, per an NFL.com report released Wednesday.
During his two seasons in Las Vegas, Nassib accumulated four sacks, one interception and 49 tackles as part of a rotating corp of edge rushers. He previously spent two seasons in Cleveland and two in Tampa Bay.
Nassib made history ahead of the 2021 season when he came out as gay in an Instagram post. After making the Raiders squad in August, Nassib became the first out gay active player in league history. He recorded 1.5 sacks and forced a game-winning fumble of Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in 13 games last season.
The season wasn’t without tribulation though. Nassib missed four games due to injury and took a short personal leave from the team after homophobic comments from then-Raiders head coach Jon Gruden were uncovered during the league’s investigation of the Washington Commanders.
The decision to cut Nassib almost certainly has nothing to do with his LGBTQ identity. It was simply a cost-cutting measure. According to NFL.com, Nassib’s $7.75 million base salary was too high for them. The team will release him with a post-June 1 designation, saving $8 million on the team’s 2022 salary cap. On the same day Nassib was released, the Raiders signed four-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Chandler Jones.
In addition, the Raiders have a new general manager and coaching staff, which made the move even more predictable.
Nassib shouldn’t hurt for playing opportunities though. The website Pro Football Focus rated Nassib as the fifth-highest rated Raiders defensive player last season.
While his being gay had nothing to do with his release, what happens to Nassib going forward will be telling and we’ll be watching. He is more than talented to land with another team and at 29 (as of April 12) he still has productive years ahead. Nassib will be free to sign with any team once the league year begins Wednesday at 4 p.m. EDT.