ALAMEDA – The Raiders continue making roster moves throughout the season. The latest came Tuesday, when veteran middle linebacker Derrick Johnson was formally released.
There could be more alterations on the horizons as the Raiders try to improve.
“There’s going to continue to be roster changes, certainly, on every team in the league,” head coach Jon Gruden said. “That’s just the way the league is. Players get hurt. We’ll see what the medical report is when we return from the bye and we’ll go from there.”
Injuries certainly necessitate change. That’s how defensive tackles Johnathan Hankins and Clinton McDonald ended up on the roster. Justin Ellis went on injured and P.J. Hall was lost a few weeks, creating vacancies filled by guys who stuck.
That’s one way rosters change. The others? Performance or preferred compensation.
We’ll explore the latter in this post.
Jay Glazer reported Sunday on the Fox pregame show that the Raiders are shopping former first-round picks Amari Cooper and Karl Joseph in trades.
Other media outlets, including one prominent site, have thrown other names out there, assuming the Raiders are willing to part with anyone after a 1-5 start. We won’t repeat unsubstantiated names, or those associated with conditionals like “could” or “might.”
Generally speaking, it will be interesting to see how involved the Raiders are moving parts before the Oct. 30 NFL trade deadline. Trading Cooper especially would show the Raiders are clearing the deck for future picks and salary-cap freedom. Cooper should demand significant salary in his second contract, which could be extended this offseason or after he plays on a fifth-year option. Cooper has been inconsistent, making it tougher to pay him top dollar.
Joseph was the No. 4 safety before hurting his hamstring a few weeks back, so getting something for someone not high on the depth chart might be worth it to brass.
Glazer reports in The Athletic that the Raiders are looking for a first-round pick for Cooper, but would have a market for the dynamic talent should the price drop some. The Alabama product is working the through the concussion protocol, meaning he wouldn’t get dealt until he is cleared.
Gruden was asked about shopping Cooper after a 27-3 loss to Seattle on Sunday, during which the receiver was concussed.
”I don't know. I haven't heard that. I'm not -- I'm not -- you know, I'm just sorry to have to deal with a lot of these reports,” Gruden said. “I just hope Amari is okay. Like I said, he's going to be a big part of our pass offense and we'll see what happens here. Hopefully he's all right.”
Glazer reports “decent compensation” is being demanded for Joseph, though a market hasn’t really developed.
There are other short-term veterans who could get moved, even in a league where deadline trades aren’t terribly common.
The Raiders are on the prowl for upgrades now or, more likely, in the future. It’s possible they could part with a player of pedigree to acquire them.