Raiders

Raiders

Editor's Note: This week, NBC Sports Bay Area will theorize hypothetical front-office acquisitions for each of our teams. Today, we examine a potential move the Raiders could make.

The 2020 Raiders are all but set after adding cornerback Prince Amukamara. The Silver and Black added a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball in free agency, and loaded up on offense in the draft, setting quarterback Derek Carr up for what could be a career year during the inaugural season in Las Vegas.

I expect the Raiders to be better in 2020, but there still will be room for improvement after Jon Gruden's third season back.

That leads me to a hypothetical trade idea for the 2021 offseason, one the Raiders might be hesitant to pull the trigger on but one that could complete the offensive overhaul. I've been on the record as saying the Raiders should never again trade for a wide receiver after the Antonio Brown fiasco. But ... I just can't help myself. If the Cleveland Browns' 2020 season goes up in flames and Odell Beckham Jr. wants out of the Dawg Pound, Gruden would be salivating at the opportunity to "let it fly" with the three-time Pro Bowl selection in silver and black.

[RAIDERS TALK: Listen to the latest episode]
 

 

The trade

Browns send: WR Odell Beckham Jr., 2021 second-round pick

Raiders send: 2021 first-round pick, 2021 third-round pick and G Gabe Jackson

This hypothetical trade assumes a few things. The first is that Carr proves he is the long-term answer at quarterback in 2020 and the Raiders no longer have worry about the most important position in sports. The second it assumes is that the Silver and Black will cut ties with Tyrell Williams and Lamarcus Joyner after 2020, taking all of Williams' salary off the books and being only dinged $2.5 million for cutting Joyner.

With at least that $20 million off the books, plus Jackson's $9.3 million going to Cleveland, the Raiders easily could take on Beckham's contract. This also takes into account that rookie guard John Simpson has proven he can take over for Jackson, and the Raiders send the high-priced guard to Cleveland where he can slot in and help complete the Browns' offensive line rebuild.

Yes, Beckham is outspoken and brash, but he's never been a problem in the way Antonio Brown was and continues to be. Beckham, by all accounts, was a valued member of the Giants' locker room and his work ethic and desire to play through injury quickly won over his Browns teammates.

Beckham, 27, is one of the elite wide receivers in the NFL and he comes at a relatively modest price for a star wide receiver at $15.75 million in 2021 and $15 million in 2022 and 2023.

If Carr is able to make another leap in Year 3 in Gruden's system, then adding a No. 1 receiver of Beckham's caliber would take the Raiders' offense from good to great.

An offensive skill group that includes Beckham, Henry Ruggs, Josh Jacobs, Darren Waller, Bryan Edwards and Hunter Renfrow would be one of the most loaded offensive attacks in the NFL.

When healthy, Beckham is a top-five receiver in the NFL. His ability to stretch the field vertically and occupy the defense's attention would undoubtedly give Ruggs, Waller, Renfrow and Edwards more room to operate. It also gives Carr a bonafide No. 1 receiver to go to at key points in the game, while relieving some pressure from Ruggs to be that guy immediately.

Admittedly, the first- and third-round picks were a steep price to pay, but getting a second-round pick back lessens the blow and it's a talent like Beckham is hard to come by.

Everyone is chasing the Kansas City Chiefs. Denver Broncos edge rusher Von Miller put it best when saying you can't stop the Chiefs' offense, you just have to get lucky on defense and then outscore them.

In order to do that, you need explosive offensive weapons who can change the course of the game in an instant. The Raiders added a few this offseason in Ruggs and Edwards. They have a top-tier tight end in Waller and a feature back in Jacobs. But they are missing a weapon of Beckham's caliber, one that could truly give them an arsenal to match the firepower the Chiefs bring to the table.

 

[RELATED: Edwards' highlight reel shows Raiders WR's sky-high ceiling]

In his five healthy seasons, Beckham is averaging 84 catches, 1,241 yards and nine touchdowns. Four of those came with an aging Eli Manning at quarterback and last year a sports hernia injury hampered Beckham as he put up mediocre numbers for an underperforming Browns team.

Carr hasn't had a receiver approach Beckham's averages since Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree both did so in 2016. Waller did catch 90 passes for 1,145 yards and three scores last season as the top receiving option, but you need that production on the outside as well to be a truly dynamic offense.

This underscores the lack of dynamic receiving options Carr has during his career, something that is essential to close the gap on the Chiefs.

You might shudder at trading for another high-priced receiver. That's an understandable reaction. But Beckham doesn't come with Brown's baggage. He'll come in, work his tail off and be the final piece of Gruden's offensive puzzle. But a few things have to fall into place first.