Raiders

NFL rumors: Chiefs will be 'primary suitor' for Jalen Ramsey trade

NFL rumors: Chiefs will be 'primary suitor' for Jalen Ramsey trade

The Chiefs probably aren't done giving the Raiders headaches this season, and they might do it on defense when they meet again Dec. 1 in Kansas City. 

Many NFL general managers believe the Chiefs "will emerge as a primary suitor" for disgruntled Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora tweeted Tuesday. 

Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill didn't wait long to start recruiting Ramsey on Twitter that morning.

The Raiders saw firsthand what the Chiefs' offense could do in Sunday's 28-10 loss at the Coliseum, but Kansas City's defense hasn't been as strong in the nascent Patrick Mahomes era. The Chiefs allowed the second-most passing yards (4,374) last season, and have given up the 13th-most through two games in 2019. Kansas City revamped its defensive line and added Tyrann Mathieu to its secondary in order to address those defensive deficiencies, but Ramsey's arrival could send the Chiefs defense into another stratosphere.

The 25-year-old is -- at least -- one of the five best cornerbacks in the NFL, with more than enough game to back up his constant trash talk. Pro Football Focus found that, since 2016, just four corners have allowed a lower completion percentage (53.8 percent) than Ramsey.

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Sunday proved that the Raiders won't be competing with the Chiefs for AFC West supremacy this season, but Ramsey's arrival would widen the gap between the two franchises even further -- at least in the immediate future. Given Ramsey's stated desire to play in Las Vegas, such a move would hurt the Silver and Black beyond the franchise's final game at Oakland Coliseum. Ramsey can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season, and the Chiefs can afford him since Mahomes, the reigning NFL MVP, still is playing on his rookie deal.

Acquiring star receiver Antonio Brown blew up in the Raiders' collective faces, but seeing another superstar in Ramsey suit up for a division rival -- that already is a juggernaut -- could sting the Raiders even more.

Gareon Conley trade a good move by Raiders, might not be last one

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AP

Gareon Conley trade a good move by Raiders, might not be last one

ALAMEDA – Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley had a game he’d rather forget on Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. It was his last in silver and black.

He was traded to the Houston Texans for a 2020 third-round NFL draft pick, a source said on Monday, ending a relationship that didn’t seem long lasting.

Conley’s an excellent cover man with speed and ball skills and all the physical traits one finds in a top cornerback. There were some inside the Raiders complex who thought he was at times disinterested and disengaged, and whether he was a perfect match for what they do defensively, and the level of physicality required of Raiders cornerbacks.

Actions suggested a possible breakup before Conley's contract expired. The Raiders added two cornerbacks in the first four rounds of this year’s NFL draft despite having entrenched starters in Conley and Daryl Worley, a player the staff likes a great deal.

Conley has struggled some things year. According to analytics site Pro Football Focus, Conley has allowed 18 catches on 26 targets for 266 yards and four touchdowns. That included a 74-yards score on Sunday against the Packers, where he also provided some lackluster run defense.

The Raiders decided to move on now, taking the best deal on the table from Houston despite playing the Texans next week.

The added selection gives the Raiders three in the third round. They also have two in the first and none in the second. They have the capital to go get just about anyone they want or can use the picks to move around the draft board and back into the second round if they choose.

They’ll stomach some awkwardness for the added draft capital, which could be used to add a player before the Oct. 29 NFL trade deadline.

“It’s tough. It’s difficult,” Gruden said in his Monday press conference. “But it does give us three third-round picks next year. Five picks really in the [top 96], and that’s an area that we wanted. We wanted to continue to add to our football team. We’re excited about the possibilities next year in the draft. It is hard, it’s hard trading anybody. We have some young guys that we want to have an opportunity and that’s the decision we made.”

The Raiders have options to help the team now and/or in the future be trading someone not firmly in their long-term plans. That’s what makes this a good move by Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock.

Conley’s not a perfect fit? Ship him for a pick that can help acquire someone who is. The roster turnover under Gruden has been significant, but he has the 10-year contract and owner Mark Davis’ unconditional support, so why not build a roster as he sees fit? It’s his decade. He can do what he wants with it.

We’ll know in time if it was a good move or not, once we see the tangible return from this selection.

We know for sure the Raiders are still in the midst of a rebuild, even if they’re far more competitive than last year. They’re in the playoff picture as we near the halfway point, with a tough Texans team ahead and a schedule that gets far easier after that.

The Raiders need some help at several spots, including pass rusher, linebacker and maybe even receiver despite two trades already to fortify the position. The trade market could be an avenue for assistance, and this Conley deal could be the latest but not the last domino to fall in a busy year for Raiders trades.

There could be another deal (or two) before this trading period is done. Time will tell on that front, but Gruden and Mayock will keep a close eye on possible deals and will certainly discuss them with teams as we head toward Oct. 29.

“We’re going to try. We’re going to do what we feel like we can to improve,” Gruden said. “Obviously, there’s a lot that goes in to making trades. We’re excited about having three third-round picks, two first-round picks in next year’s draft.”

Raiders giving Trayvon Mullen first chance to fill Gareon Conley's spot

Raiders giving Trayvon Mullen first chance to fill Gareon Conley's spot

ALAMEDA – Gareon Conley is no longer a Raider. The 2017 first-round draft pick was traded to the Houston Texans for a 2020 third-round pick on Monday, a day after he played 97 percent of Raiders defensive snaps in a 42-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Somebody else will have to anchor one outside cornerback spot moving forward.

Trayvon Mullen will take over Conley’s spot. This year’s second-round draft pick will get first crack at the job vacancy, though the Raiders have other options on the roster.

“Trayvon is progressively improving,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “The only way to get these guys ready for primetime is to put them out there. We like the progress he has made. That’s why we took him at the top of the second round. We really like Isaiah Johnson and the way he looked last week on the practice field and Nevin Lawson has started 50 games. Throw in Keisean Nixon and we’ve got some guys we want to take a look at.

“We’re going to try to get Trayvon ready to go.”

Mullen will take over Sunday when the Raiders face Houston, with Conley awkwardly on the other sideline.

Mullen hasn’t played much this season, just 14 defensive snaps over the last three games and 78 in total this season. His professional career didn’t start with a bang, as he gave up three catches for 27 yards and a long touchdown against Denver. He hasn’t seen the field much since, though he worked 27 snaps in a Week 2 loss to Kansas City before his workload dropped precipitously.

Gruden knows Mullen will be a focal point of opposing offenses in coming weeks, until he proves he belongs.

“He's going to get targeted quite a bit, like all rookie cornerbacks,” Gruden said. ”It’s part of the process. I know he was in a tough spot opening night against Denver, but I have seen day-to-day concentration. I’ve seen day-to-day competitiveness and gradual improvement. He’s a guy who has a lot of confidence.”

The Raiders loved Mullen coming out of Clemson. He has the physical skills to play aggressive press-man coverage, with speed and range and ball skills required to succeed in Paul Guenther’s system. They would’ve gladly taken him at No. 35 overall but were able to trade down a few times and still land him at No. 40.

Mullen wasn’t targeted much at Clemson but was strong in big games and a complete player coming into the draft after his junior year.

The Raiders also took Isaiah Johnson in the fourth round, though he will spend the first eight games on injured reserve before an expected return in Week 10 against the L.A. Chargers.

Johnson will be in the defensive mix if he proves ready. Mullen has the first opportunity, and that starts now as we head into towards midseason.

“He has size and he’s young,” Gruden said. “He’s still raw and still has some green to him. He’s a great kid and a great competitor. He has change of direction. He’s tough. He has a lot of pride He has big upside.

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“I feel the same way about Isaiah. These guys need to get on the grass and play. I’ll take responsibility for how that goes, but I have their backs. I have a lot of confidence in them. I want to see them go out there and deal with some of the best receivers in football.”