There’s still a week before the NFL league year starts.
Fans and pundits are antsy to see who goes where when free agency begins and reported trades can become official. Until then, we can keep kicking around some fun hypothetical trade scenarios.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell proposed a blockbuster mock three-way trade between the Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots that would net Las Vegas Russell Wilson at a steep cost.
Raiders get: QB Russell Wilson, 2022 sixth-round pick (from Seahawks)
Seahawks get: QB Marcus Mariota, TE Darren Waller, No. 17 overall pick in 2021, 2022 first-round pick (from Raiders); DE Chase Winovich, 2022 third-round pick (from Patriots)
Patriots get: QB Derek Carr (from Raiders)
There’s a lot going on here, but Barnwell addressed his thinking behind the massive bounty the Raiders would be shipping out.
“I could see how Raiders fans might think that was too much, but I could also see how Seahawks fans would think that wasn't enough," Barnwell wrote. "When you have that combination, you typically have something close to a fair deal.”
In essence, it’s a five-for-one deal for the Raiders to get Wilson, considering sixth-rounders don’t often pan out. And four of the five trade chips -- sorry, Mariota -- would be really valuable. That’s a lot for any player, even one of Wilson’s caliber. Maybe you consider it if you’re going after a 25-year-old generational talent like Deshaun Watson, but Wilson is 32.
Mike Mayock recently touted Carr, saying he and coach Jon Gruden would “pound the table” in support of their starting signal-caller. Carr is one of four quarterbacks to start 16 games and eclipse 4,000 yards passing in each of the past three seasons. He’s a couple of years younger than Wilson and signed to team-friendly terms over the next two years.
Wilson is a proven winner, but this trade could potentially decimate a franchise that needs to hit on its next two first-round picks. Running back Josh Jacobs has proven to be a solid pick for the Raiders in his first two seasons, but Clelin Ferrell, Johnathan Abram and Henry Ruggs have all struggled early in their careers so far.
Where this deal probably falls apart is with Waller, who is arguably the Raiders’ best overall player. He’s one of the league’s top tight ends, only 28 years old and owed less than $20 million over the next three seasons.
Barnwell’s proposed trade might get the wheels spinning, but given the team’s recent vote of confidence in Carr and this huge asking price, it might not be a realistic option for the Raiders.