NFL draft rumors: Raiders could trade up for Tua Tagovailoa if QB falls

NFL draft rumors: Raiders could trade up for Tua Tagovailoa if QB falls

The Raiders enter the 2020 NFL Draft with huge needs at wide receiver and cornerback. They also need to add a piece on the defensive line.

In short, quarterback is not a need that tops the list. Derek Carr will be the starter entering the season and Marcus Mariota will push him and be there to take over should Carr falter. The Raiders could look to draft a guy like Jalen Hurts on Day 2, but they are not expected to be a player for the likes of Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa or Jordan Love.

However, should Tagovailoa start to slide in the draft, the Raiders reportedly could "sniff up" for trade scenarios, The Athletic' Ben Standing reported, citing a "connected source."

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Tagovailoa was seen as the presumptive No. 1 pick entering the college football season. But the meteoric rise of LSU's Joe Burrow and the dislocated hip Tagovailoa suffered in November have caused him to drop. Most draft experts still expect the left-handed gunslinger to be off the board by the No. 6 overall pick (Los Angeles Chargers), but there's a world in which Tagovailoa drops. Due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, teams have not been able to have their own medical staff evaluate Tagovailoa's hip.

If the Dolphins draft Herbert, as is expected, and the Chargers pass on Tagovailoa, the Alabama product could begin a precipitous slide. The Carolina Panthers (Teddy Bridgewater), Arizona Cardinals (Kyler Murray), Jacksonville Jaguars (Gardner Minshew), Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield) and New York Jets (Sam Darnold) all have their starting quarterbacks. The Jaguars seem like the likeliest landing spot, but all reports indicate they want to see what they have with Minshew.

Teams like the New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers certainly will look to move up if Tagovailoa slides, but the Raiders -- with two first-round picks and three third-round selections -- are in a great spot to trade up and grab a possible franchise quarterback with Drew Brees upside. 

Coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock have been extremely complimentary of Carr and gave Mariota a lucrative contract that suggests they believe he could be the right guy to lead the Silver and Black. Mayock said the Raiders plan to "rebuild" Mariota and give him the time and support to become the best version of himself.

All that points to a team with two quarterbacks on the roster who could be the franchise guy. With other holes to fill, would it be worth it for the Raiders to sell draft capital for Tagovailoa?

The short answer is probably not. Carr and Mariota give Gruden and Mayock the luxury of building up the rest of the roster while having two capable signal-callers on the team. Tagovailoa has enticing, sky-high potential, but he also comes with injury red flags and gambling and missing on a quarterback in the top 10 can set a franchise rebuild back years.

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If Tagovailoa does slide, I expect the Raiders to discuss and be intrigued by the possibility of solving their quarterback question. But it's more prudent for them to stand pat, add a dynamic receiver and a lockdown corner and go from there.

Enter 2020 with two quarterbacks who have shown they can win at the NFL and see if either Carr or Mariota is the guy. If not, the Raiders can look to address the quarterback position starting in 2021.

Jadeveon Clowney-Raiders rumors more fantasy than reality at moment

Jadeveon Clowney-Raiders rumors more fantasy than reality at moment

The Raiders made massive improvements to their defense during the offseason, hoping to inject some life into a unit that ranked 30th in DVOA in 2019.

But with one big fish still swimming in the free agency ocean, the Silver and Black might not be done yet.

Jadeveon Clowney has been biding his time during free agency, waiting for an offer that matches what he believes he is worth. That number started at between $20-22 million and reportedly has been lowered to around $18 million. Clowney reportedly has an offer from the Cleveland Browns with the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans also in the mix. On Monday. Cecil Lammey of 104.3 The Fan in Denver reported that the Raiders had joined the party and offered Clowney a contract. He also reported that head coach Jon Gruden would like to up the offer to get Clowney. Lammey reports the offer is lower than two or three other teams and owner Mark Davis and general manager Mike Mayock are hesitant to increase it.

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This is where we need to separate fantasy from reality.

Clowney is a talented player and he undoubtedly would help a Silver and Black pass rush that has struggled since Khalil Mack was shipped off to the Chicago Bears. Clowney is a sexy name and it's easy to automatically plug him on the Raiders' defensive line along with Maliek Collins, Maurice Hurst and Clelin Ferrell/Maxx Crosby and see an improved unit that can give teams problems in the AFC West.

But that $18-20 million is a massive price tag for a player whose production doesn't match the number he's currently asking for. Clowney notched just three sacks last season for the Seahawks and has yet to record a double-digit sack season since being draft with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Per Spotrac, Clowney's projected open-market is around $17.1 million. So his initial asking price already overshoots his on-field production and it's fair to see a number of teams asking to see more sacks, pressures and QB hits before paying the $17 million.

Clowney's health also is of concern. While the South Carolina product only has missed nine games in five seasons, there are some issues about the core and knee injuries he's sustained during his career. Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it's difficult for players to travel and get evaluated by a team's medical staff and that makes owners unwilling to open their checkbook.

This brings us to the second hurdle in any Clowney-Raiders marriage. According to the NFL Player's Association public salary cap report, the Raiders currently have $7.9 million in cap space. But that number will shrink once the Raiders have agreed to terms with all of their recent draft picks, including first-round picks Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette. At the moment, the Raiders still need to clear some cap space in order to sign their entire rookie class. They simply lack the cap space, at the moment, to add Clowney at the number he's been demanding.

Of course, there are always to fit a player in. But for the Raiders to add Clowney at the number he wants, it likely would require a large chunk of the cash to come in the form of a signing bonus and the Raiders still would have to clear space by cutting some players. Right guard Gabe Jackson's contract became guaranteed last month. Quarterback Derek Carr's contract is the Raiders' most pliable but he's set for what could be a career year in Las Vegas.

Plain and simple: It's difficult to see the Raiders finding a way to fit Clowney in at his preferred number.

[REALTED: Renfrow's growth key to Raiders' offensive resurgence]

The Raiders currently are relying on Crosby, Ferrell and free-agent addition Carl Nassib to provide the heat off the edge. Last season, the Raiders recorded just 32 sacks, a number that must improve for them to make way in a tough AFC West.

Increasing pressure on the quarterback is paramount for the Raiders, but Clowney isn't a double-digit sack maven. He's been more of a run-stopper during his NFL career and his production hasn't been equal to the contract he desires. He's a big name who will come with a price tag he hasn't earned.

If the Raiders can find a way to get him at a discount as the season approaches it obviously would be worth it. But right now, any pact between Clowney and the Raiders is more fiction than reality.

Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears


Raiders discussing fan options at Allegiant as 2020 NFL season nears

As the NFL regular season approaches, assuming the rise in COVID-19 cases doesn’t cancel it, the Raiders are having ongoing internal discussions about a number of different options and approaches for a rabid season-ticket base that completely sold out brand new Allegiant Stadium.

As the Raiders continue to sort through the situation, they have indefinitely pushed back the deadline for final payment on 2020 season tickets. Meanwhile, longtime Raiders fans like Kenny King Jr., a Northern California resident and 2020 season-ticket holder, is holding out hope he will be front and center when the Raiders play their first season in Las Vegas.

“I definitely do intend to go to games this year and have already booked for the opener and Chiefs games,” said King, the son of former Raiders running back Kenny King.

Read more at the Las Vegas Review-Journal