Scott Bair

Why Raiders might wade back into NFL trade market with rumors swirling

Why Raiders might wade back into NFL trade market with rumors swirling

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.

Source: Raiders fined $20,000 for violating NFL injury report rule

kelechiap.jpg
AP

Source: Raiders fined $20,000 for violating NFL injury report rule

The Raiders designated left guard Kelechi Osemele as questionable the Friday before a Week 5 contest against the L.A. Chargers with a knee injury. 

The Pro Bowl lineman then didn’t make the Saturday trip to Los Angeles with his team, leaving no chance he would play that Sunday at StubHub! Center. 

The Raiders didn’t downgrade his status, however, and that's a violation of NFL rules on injury disclosure. They were fined $20,000 by the NFL for that misstep, a source confirmed Thursday. 

A questionable player’s status often is determined the day before the game or in pregame warm-ups, but Osemele’s status was clear when he didn’t get on the plane. He should’ve been downgraded to out Saturday afternoon, per NFL rules.

Why rebuilding the Raiders roster could be a painful process

Why rebuilding the Raiders roster could be a painful process

ALAMEDA – Head coach Jon Gruden has stated plainly that his Raiders have a ways to go to be consistently competitive. He has mentioned how recent draft class disappointments have hurt the team’s front line and its depth.

He traded Khalil Mack for draft picks that won’t help the 2018, and there are reports he’s open to shipping more first-rounders out for future draft picks.

We haven’t heard, however, the dreaded “R” word. Rebuild.

Not that Gruden cares what the media thinks. He wants the locker room believing the Raiders are trying to win right now and as many times as possible after that. It’s harder after personnel decisions already made. It’ll be harder with as many as 10 rookies making contributions on the 53-man roster.

Whether they go on a post-bye-week run or not, this roster must get fleshed out through the NFL Draft and younger free agent selections. Whatever you want to call it, Gruden and the Raiders are playing a long game.

There are plenty of reasons why the Raiders are 1-5, but here they are. Had the early season gone better, the Raiders would’ve been in better position to keep rolling with veterans on short-term contracts. Gruden insists, however, that the Raiders won’t accelerate the use of young players if losses keep piling up.

“We are going to continue to try to get some young guys experience, but most importantly, we're playing our best players, just so you know,” Gruden said. “We're not just playing rookies for the heck of it.”

The Raiders are playing lots of young players, and a bunch of older ones. They have the NFL’s oldest roster after signing tons of veterans on short-term deals this offseason to patch holes in the roster.

Reggie McKenzie did that in 2013 and 2014, trying to Band-Aid a roster that needed several years to get right. He was able to use smart bombs in later years, adding Rodney Hudson, Kelechi Osemele and Michael Crabtree to enhance a young foundation built through the draft. It worked. The Raiders got better, but couldn’t sustain it.

Gruden came in, got his hands on the roster and considered it worthy of a radical reconstruction. It can improve with quality draft picks and proper salary cap allocation.

He obviously wanted to execute the grand plan while winning games, but that hasn’t happened.

Now it seems clear the Raiders are building for future seasons, without wins to make the process easier.

It isn’t easy on veterans without long-term years left on their contracts. NFL careers don’t last, and each moment must be maximized. It’s fair to say many veterans on the current Raiders roster won’t be around in 2020 when the team hits Las Vegas. It’s not fun to build toward a better future you won’t be part of.

Quarterback Derek Carr has already been through a ramp up. He went 3-13 and then 7-9 and then 12-4, and he would hate to slide back down to base camp.

“This being my fifth year, you want it now,” quarterback Derek Carr said. “You want everything now. I know our fans want it now. Our players, our team, our coaches want it now and trust me, we are trying to do it now. But we've got to take this bye week, look at what we can do to play better right off of this bye week. What can we do to win that game, and that's where our mindset has to be.”

That’s where it will stay for the character members of the locker room, who are employed to win the next football game. That comes against Indianapolis after a bye week.

"I try to keep things in perspective, and focus on today,” center Rodney Hudson said. “My focus is learning from this game and trying to win the next one. I’m not going to worry about anything else other than that.”