Raiders

Why Raiders should trade for Jalen Ramsey, who wants to play in Las Vegas

Why Raiders should trade for Jalen Ramsey, who wants to play in Las Vegas

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Jalen Ramsey is the best cornerback in the NFL. Full stop.

The 24-year-old has shown he has the talent to go up against the best receivers in the game and come out on top. He has been a key component of a Jaguars' defense that has been one of the best in the NFL over the past two seasons.

And now he reportedly has requested a trade, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Friction between Ramsey and the Jags has been brewing for quite some time, and it appeared to boil over Sunday when he got into a sideline argument with head coach Doug Marrone.

Now, there's no telling whether or not Ramsey will get his way, but he's already told us where he would want to play if given the choice: the Raiders or the Titans. 

Ramsey is from Nashville, so playing in front of his hometown team would make sense, but would the Raiders be interested? Better yet, should they be?

Short answer: Yes and yes.

Following the Antonio Brown saga that ended with the Raiders releasing the receiver before he ever played a snap in Oakland, head coach Jon Gruden might want to avoid players prone to drama. Make no mistake, Ramsey, while brash and confident, is not Antonio Brown, and to suggest so because he has requested a trade is irresponsible. Now, that isn't to say Ramsey is without headache, and it's fair to wonder if general manager Mike Mayock and Gruden would want to go down that road again. Would Gruden even want to handle the quote-unquote volatile superstar, which Ramsey has, either fairly or unfairly, been labeled?

But the bottom line is simple: Talent talks.

Gruden should see an opportunity to collect talent and take his secondary from mediocre at best to almost elite. The easiest way to accelerate a rebuild is to acquire top-tier talent.

The Raiders already boast talented young corners Gareon Conley and Trayvon Mullen, along with veteran slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner. Cornerback Daryl Worley will be a free agent after this season, and Conley still is on his rookie contract, which could go through 2021 if the Raiders exercise his fifth-year option.

Acquiring Ramsey would allow the Raiders to move Conely to the No. 2 corner position and give Mullen time to become the star his talent suggests he is. Once the Clemson product is fully actualized, the Raiders could have one of the most elite secondaries in recent memory. The Raiders did use two high draft picks on Mullen and Conley, and they might not want to relegate Mullen to the No. 3 corner for the near future, but it's a problem only teams stocked with talent have to worry about. It's a good problem to have.

Now, there's the issue of what it would take to acquire Ramsey and the cost to keep him in silver and black once his contract is up. The Jaguars reportedly are looking for a first-round draft pick. The Raiders have two in next year's draft thanks to the Khalil Mack trade, and swapping the lower of the two would be well worth the cost of acquiring a 24-year-old All-Pro cornerback.

Once Ramsey's contract is up, he's made it clear he won't take a discount. He wants to get paid. As he should. By virtue of voiding Brown's guaranteed money and ejecting him to Foxboro, the Raiders saved $30 million and have the capital to make Ramsey a Raider long term. It seems like a perfect match.

Maybe you aren't sold on Ramsey or you think the price is too high. So, let's look at the numbers.

The Chiefs are the team the Raiders are trying to catch in the AFC West, and as seen Sunday in KC's 28-10 win, they have a ways to go. The Chiefs also didn't have elite speedster Tyreek Hill and still torched the Raiders. If the Raiders are going to be seeing Hill two times a year for the foreseeable future, they should want to acquire a guy who has been able to bottle up the Chiefs' dynamic weapon. 

During last season's Jags-Chiefs game, Hill went up against Ramsey on 18 snaps. Of those 18 snaps, Hill was targeted just five times and caught two balls for 47 yards. When the two matched up in Week 1 this season, Hill caught two passes for 16 yards against Ramsey before leaving with an injury. 

Ramsey currently faces Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins two times a season and it's been a battle since Ramsey came into the league. Coming into Sunday's matchup. Hopkins had caught 18 passes on 32 targets in his career against Ramsey, averaging 8.6 yards per target and scoring twice since 2017. But Sunday, Ramsey allowed Hopkins to tally just 27 yards on seven targets in the Texans' 14-13 win.

Ramsey also has battled Brown, now with the Patriots, during his career. When facing the dynamic receiver, Ramsey has allowed him to catch nine passes on 13 targets for 155 yards. But he hasn't allowed a touchdown and has picked off two passes intended for Brown. Elite receivers are going to get their Ws, but Ramsey has played the best of the best tougher than anyone.

The AFC is full of talented receivers, and while Conley is good, Ramsey is the best cover guy in the NFL bar none and he's still just 24.

[RELATED: Mullen will learn from NFL debut vs. Broncos]

Mayock and Gruden made it their mission in the offseason to get younger, faster and more talented. Ramsey checks all those boxes and he gives you an elite player at one of the most important positions in football.

If the Jags ask for the Bears' first-round draft pick, Gruden should fly the rights to the selection to Jacksonville himself and bring Ramsey back with him.

Draft picks are exciting because they are based in the unknown. In what they could turn in to.

We know what Ramsey is: The best at his position. And he wants to play in Las Vegas.

Case closed.

NFL Draft 2020: Should Raiders trade up for Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa?

NFL Draft 2020: Should Raiders trade up for Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa?

As the Raiders transition from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock are preparing for what is a vital offseason to their rebuild.

The Raiders have five picks in the first 92, including Nos. 12 and 19 overall, and are slated to have at least $51.8 million in cap room for free agency. 

Before the Raiders can go about patching up their defense or upgrading their offensive weapons, they need to decide what to do at the quarterback position. 

Derek Carr is under contract until 2022, but the Raiders can cut him for minimal loss if they deem it necessary. Rumors have swirled about the Raiders' desire to pursue Tom Brady should he become a free agent, and multiple teams reportedly sense Carr could become available.

The Raiders can go a number of different directions at quarterback as they move to Sin City. While Brady's name gets all the publicity, the Raiders do have two first-round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft which they could package together to move up to select a top-tier quarterback in this year's class. 

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow already should be buying a house in Cincinnati as he's all but assured to be the selection at No. 1 overall by the Bengals. But what about Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa or Oregon's Justin Herbert? Both signal-callers have high upside and were expected to be the first two quarterbacks off the board before Burrow went and set the country on fire while leading LSU to a national championship.

As the NFL Scouting Combine gets underway, let's take a look at the second and third best quarterbacks in the class and whether or not the Raiders should make a move up the draft board.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

If not for the fractured hip he suffered against Mississippi State, Tagovailoa would be right there in the conversation with Burrow for the No. 1 overall pick. As is, the Alabama product got good news from surgeons a few weeks ago, as NFL Network reported his hip has healed and he has good range of motion. He is expected to resume football activities sometime next month if progress continues.

At 100 percent, Tagovailoa was one of the most electric players in college football. He came off the bench to lead Alabama to the 2018 College Football National Championship and rose to stardom not far after. In nine games this past season, Tagovailoa threw for 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions while completing 71.4 percent of his passes and leading the country with a 206.9 efficiency rating. 

Tagovailoa measured at 6-foot even Monday in Indianapolis. While he lacks ideal size and has a tainted injury history, he has a quick release, great feet and a strong arm. He throws from a solid platform and is a great decision-maker in the RPO game. 

To the tape:

His ball placement on slants and corner routes is a thing of beauty,

Improvisation is an underrated aspect of his game.

And the deep ball ...

If Tua is healthy a number of teams will be clamoring to pay a king's ransom to go up and get him.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

An NFL scout's dream, Herbert (6-foot-6, 236 pounds) has all the physical tools to be the prototypical NFL quarterback.

He has great mobility and a bazooka for a right arm.

Herbert's issue during his time at Oregon was a lack of consistency, which can partly be blamed on having three different head coaches, three different offensive coordinators and two offensive schemes during his four years in Eugene, Ore. Herbert needs to work on his anticipation, as sometimes he'll wait too long to rip it.

All in all, Herbert has great feet, a massive arm and can be a big factor in the RPO game. He can make some ridiculous throws on the run

There aren't many guys in the NFL who can make this throw.

Herbert starred at the Senior Bowl and no doubt will test through the roof at the Combine. If he nails the interviews with teams, he'll be top-six pick.

[RELATED: Raiders should sign Sanders to revamp receiving corps]\

To trade or not to trade

With two picks in the top 19 and five in the top 92 the Raiders have some ammo to move up in the draft should they deem it necessary. But based on recent NFL history, they would have to pay quite the price tag to jump and take either Tagovailoa or Herbert.

The Raiders have a number of needs and would be better served by keeping their picks and stocking their roster with as much talent as possible. There's no doubt Gruden would love to see Herbert or Tua throwing darts in silver and black, but with Tagovailoa's injury history and Herbert's inconsistency, the Raiders would be wise to hang back and address their other needs.

But if Gruden wants his QB, he just might go get him.

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

Raiders' Derek Carr just trolling with Khalil Mack post, David Carr says

It's been another offseason of rumors for Derek Carr.

Despite a solid 2019 campaign in Year 2 under Jon Gruden, whispers of the Raiders' interest in other quarterbacks, notably Tom Brady, have been circulating since the season ended. There also have been rumors the Silver and Black could look to trade Carr this offseason. Carr sent shockwaves of his own across social media earlier this week when he posted a photo of himself and former teammate Khalil Mack on Instagram, sparking speculation he could be headed to the Chicago Bears.

But, according to Carr's brother David, he was just having a little fun with the offseason rumor mill.

“His son’s favorite movie is Trolls. He’s just having fun. It’s the offseason,” David Carr said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access."

While Derek Carr is used to questions about his job security being a topic of conversation, it appears the veteran quarterback is enjoying stoking the trade flames himself for once. 

But he might also be sending a message to the Raiders that other teams would love for him to be their starting quarterback if they don't.

The Bears, Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and others have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Derek Carr if he is traded. 

As for the Raiders' offseason plans at quarterback, it feels like the smart money is on Carr entering the season as the starter. While the Brady rumors have taken up all the oxygen, it feels like a stretch to suggest that the six-time Super Bowl champion would leave the New England Patriots at this point in his career. Of course, if Brady wants to wear silver and black, the Raiders have to make that happen.

[RELATED: Why Raiders should target Sanders to revamp receiving corps]

It seems likely Carr will take the first snap for the Raiders in Las Vegas with a free-agent acquisition occupying the backup role and looking to take over should Carr not take the next step head coach Jon Gruden wants to see.

If more rumors continue to pop up, don't be surprised to see Carr take to social media with another cryptic post.