Raiders

Raiders fans in Oakland biggest losers in Khalil Mack deal

Raiders fans in Oakland biggest losers in Khalil Mack deal

The Raiders won’t see a return on trading Khalil Mack until next year at the earliest. The Chicago Bears gave up first-round picks in 2019 and 2020, a 2020 third-round pick and a 2019 second-round pick. The Raiders handed the star edge rusher over with a 2020 second-rounder and a conditional 202 fifth-round pick.

No players are coming back to help this year’s roster.

Those draft picks could help remake the Raiders in the long run. So could the financial flexibility gained by not paying Mack crazy cash.

Head coach Jon Gruden will have tools at his disposal to vastly improve the Raiders.

The Las Vegas Raiders, anyway.

The 2018 Oakland Raiders got worse on Saturday. There’s no arguing that. This year’s team gave up Khalil Mack and got nothing in return. Losing an All-Pro, someone Gruden recently called the team’s best player, is a severe short-term blow.

It’s a gut punch to Raiders supporters in the East Bay, who have but two seasons until the Silver and Black head to Las Vegas for good.

Oakland fans lose a superstar who was easy to cheer for, an elite talent who never gets in trouble and represents the community well.

Trading Mack and avoiding his massive contract for future picks is obviously a big-picture play. Gruden and the Raiders might be better for it, assuming they draft better than the last time two first-round picks came in trade.

Tampa Bay included those selections for Gruden himself back in 2002. The Raiders turned those picks into defensive back Phillip Buchanan and defensive end Tyler Brayton. Franchise cornerstones, they were not.

The Raiders can also allocate money theoretically earmarked for Mack by general manager Reggie McKenzie on several players who can help the overall product. That’s as valuable as any draft pick, especially while the Raiders rebuild their depth chart following supbar drafts from 2015-17.

It’s a little to late to use that money this fall.

The extra 2019 first-round pick would have to make an immediate impact for the loyal, rabid fans who occupy Oakland Coliseum each home game to enjoy any fruit from this deal. There’s no guarantee in that.

Trading Mack doesn’t mean the Raiders will stink. They still have a dynamic offense, with Derek Carr running Gruden’s respected scheme, one that will have some new wrinkles unveiled as the season goes on.

The defense has Bruce Irvin rushing off one edge and rookies Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall and Arden Key added to the mix. Maybe Gruden and defensive Paul Guenther will get the team going strong and the Raiders are competing for a division title this winter.

Those are all conditional phrases. Maybe, maybe, maybe. It’s absolutely certain the Raiders talent level decreased with the 2016 NFL defensive player of the year traded to Chicago.

Even if they didn’t want to pay Mack a market-setting deal, they could’ve controlled his rights for three years on a fifth-year option and consecutive franchise tags. That would’ve helped the Raiders in Oakland. Gruden and owner Mark Davis have said several times they want to win for fans in the East Bay. The Mack deal was a short-term loss for the possibility of a long-term gain that leaves Las Vegas Raiders fans in position to reap the rewards.

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

NFL Playoff Picture: Where Raiders stand after Chiefs win Week 11 game

The Raiders had a chance to move into first place in AFC West on Monday night, but they needed a little help.

They did not get that help as the Chargers failed to beat the Chiefs in Mexico City on "Monday Night Football." Kansas City held on for a 24-17 victory and moved to 7-4 on the season.

The Raiders, coming off a 17-10 win over the Bengals,  sit and 6-4 and remain in second place in the AFC West and in seventh place in the AFC playoff picture.

Had the Chargers won, the Raiders would have moved into third place in the AFC by virtue of the tiebreaker with the Indianapolis Colts.

Alas, the Raiders still are on the outside looking in.

Here's how the AFC playoff picture looks through 11 weeks of the NFL season.

1. New England Patriots (9-1)
2. Baltimore Ravens (8-2)
3. Kansas City Chiefs (7-4)
4. Indianapolis Colts (6-4)
5. Buffalo Bills (7-3)
6. Houston Texans (6-4)
7. Oakland Raiders (6-4)

The good news for the Raiders is that their schedule the rest of the way is slightly easier than that of Kansas City's.

Oakland has six games remaining and only their Week 13 matchup against the Chiefs comes against a team with a winning record. The Raiders also have games remaining against the Jets (3-7), Titans (5-5), Jaguars (4-6), Chargers (4-7) and Broncos (3-7).

[RELATED: Raiders-Chiefs Week 13 clash flexed to afternoon slot]

After a bye next weekend, the Chiefs host the Raiders, then travel to New England to take on the AFC-leading Patriots. They close the season against the Broncos, Bears (4-6) and Chargers.

Buckle up because the last six weeks of the season are going to have many more twists and turns.

Raiders snap count: How Dion Jordan made an impact against Bengals

Raiders snap count: How Dion Jordan made an impact against Bengals

ALAMEDA – Dion Jordan has played several spots along the line in his NFL career, most of it off the edge. The Raiders need help there but requested he help in another spot on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We asked him to go inside and rush,” coach Jon Gruden said. “We want to keep [Clelin] Ferrell and Maxx [Crosby] and [Benson] Mayowa outside. Dion gives us another guy with length who can go against the guards.”

Jordan’s a superior athlete who stands 6-foot-6, 284 pounds. He’s quick and agile enough to go around blockers, strong enough to go through them.

That certainly helped him work from interior spots over 14 snaps against the Bengals, and he was able to generate some pressure working obvious passing downs. He had a quarterback sack on third down that forced a punt, a run stop and one other quarterback pressure.

Jordan's presence was also felt in ways that can’t be quantified in the box score. His teammates said his athleticism helps create chances for others. Crosby credited Jordan for freeing him some off the edge.

Fellow interior rusher Maurice Hurst, who plays a different, yet effective game getting to the quarterback, liked the new energy Jordan brought to the front.

“He’s a great athlete who gets the guards to kick out to him pretty fast,” Hurst said. “It creates space for some of the other guys. You can run cool things with him. He will really help us inside.”

We’ll see whether Jordan’s role expands as we move forward. He only had three practices to adjust to this Raiders scheme after formally joining the team on Tuesday after his NFL suspension was lifted. More time might allow him to do some different things, or at least prep him to take more snaps helping this pass rush and defensive effort as a whole.

"He gives us some athleticism and chase-down ability, and he showed that he can still do that [after 10 games away on suspension]," Gruden said. "We have to keep working him into football shape, and try to get him some more turns."

Here is the entire Raiders snap count: 

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 70
Quarterback – Derek Carr 70
Running back – Josh Jacobs 45, Alec Ingold 17, Jalen Richard 16, DeAndre Washington 9
Wide receiver – Tyrell Williams 51, Zay Jones 48, Hunter Renfrow 31, Marcell Ateman 5
Tight end – Darren Waller 66, Foster Moreau 41, Derek Carrier 20
Offensive line – Richie Incognito 70, Kolton Miller 70, Trent Brown 70, Gabe Jackson 70, Rodney Hudson 70, Brandon Parker 2

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 63
Defensive line – Maxx Crosby 49, Clelin Ferrell 41, Johnathan Hankins 41, P.J. Hall 35, Maurice Hurst 30, Benson Mayowa 19, Josh Mauro 18, Dion Jordan 16
Linebacker – Tahir Whitehead 63, Nicholas Morrow 59, Will Compton 6
Defensive back – Erik Harris 63, Daryl Worley 63, Trayvon Mullen 63, Nevin Lawson 57, D.J. Swearinger 38, Curtis Riley 25, Isaiah Johnson 7

[RELATED: Raiders sign Preston Brown]

Special teams

Kyle Wilber 20, Dallin Leavitt 18, Carrier 18, Riley 15, Moreau 14, Keisean Nixon 14, Johnson 13, Compton 12, Morrow 9, Harris 9, Lawson 8, Crosby 8, A.J. Cole 8, Trevor Davis 8, Trent Sieg 8, Mullen 6, Daniel Carlson 7, Hurst 5, Whitehead, Worley 5, Denzelle Good 3, Parker 3, Washington 3, Brown 3, Miller 3, Jackson 3, Incognito 3, Jordan 2, Mayowa 2