Gareon Conley

NFL trade deadline: Five Raiders who could be attractive to other teams

NFL trade deadline: Five Raiders who could be attractive to other teams

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders are stockpiling draft picks, with five first-rounders over the next two seasons, thanks to the Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades, plus their own selections.

Coach Jon Gruden told ESPN the Raiders aren’t trading anyone else before next week's deadline, but there’s always a price for doing business. The Raiders are planning for a better future, armed with commodities to aid that goal.

Even with Mack in Chicago and Cooper in Dallas, the Raiders still have roster value that could be attractive to other teams.

Given how freely the Raiders have parted with vital members of a young foundation, it leaves some fans wondering if Derek Carr is available as well. After all, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie did say no player is untouchable.

Carr might be at this stage. It seems highly unlikely he'll be moved during the season, anyway, unless it’s an overwhelming offer that the Raiders simply can’t refuse.

Gruden has publicly supported Carr throughout his first year working with him, but this should be considered a prove-it season for the Fresno State product. He has all the physical tools to be a quality NFL quarterback. He also has a relatively tolerable contract, with guarantees already paid out. That could make him a tradable option this offseason or beyond.

The Raiders also could get out of Carr’s deal for $7.5 million in dead money next year -- a total that drops by $2.5 million in each of the two years after that.

The Raiders have some other options for trades before the Oct. 30 trade deadline. Let’s look at five of them:

S Karl Joseph

The Raiders reportedly have been shopping the 2016 first-round pick, though they’re looking for a relatively high payout for someone who has underwhelmed since leaving West Virginia University. He has a hamstring injury, but even when healthy, Joseph was the Raiders’ No. 4 safety behind Marcus Gilchrist, Reggie Nelson and Erik Harris.

Joseph has talent and big-hit ability, but it’s possible the Raiders will take an offer for him before the deadline. He actually might be the most likely player to be dealt, especially if he’s healthy enough to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.

CB Rashaan Melvin

The veteran voiced his frustrations after being benched in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and he has struggled to master techniques preferred by Raiders defensive coaches. Gruden responded critically in public.

Melvin is on a one-year deal, could be down on the depth chart and isn’t likely part of a long-term Raiders plan. A cornerback-hungry team might want someone who was solid as a Colt in 2017, and the Raiders could give younger players experience using snaps previously earmarked for Melvin.

DE Bruce Irvin

The veteran edge rusher is scheduled to make $8 million this year and $9 million the next, and his role has been reduced as the season has worn on. He’s primarily a situational pass rusher at this stage, and could find a home on a team needing someone who can get after the quarterback.

Irvin also could fit in quickly elsewhere, given the nature of his position. He might not fetch much, but he could work as a rental for a team that easily can cut him in the offseason.

CB Gareon Conley

The Ohio State product was benched last week for Daryl Worley, but he has great talent with some fixable flaws in his game. He’s under control for up to three more seasons, and could fetch a decent pick if the Raiders are ready to part with him.

NFL Network reported the Raiders would like to continue working with him for another year at least, but anything’s possible for the right price.

Raiders make changes at cornerback, leaving one player very unhappy

Raiders make changes at cornerback, leaving one player very unhappy

The Raiders have been searching for three-down outside cornerbacks all season. They settled on some Sunday against Seattle, after rotating cornerbacks most of the fall.

Daryl Worley and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie took most every snap at those outside spots, with mainstay Leon Hall in the slot.

That lineup was new. Rashaan Melvin and Gareon Conley were benched for this crew.

It became clear Worley would start after he returned from suspension before the Week 5 L.A. Chargers clash. Gruden reiterated that point in no uncertain terms after a 27-3 thrashing by Seattle at London’s Wembley Stadium.

“Worley is a good player. Worley is going to be a starter here,” Gruden said. “He's a guy that's really established himself as a true corner for the Raiders.”

Seeing Worley play over Conley wasn’t a shock after Conley was essentially relieved of duty against the Chargers. Having last year’s first-round pick play exactly zero snaps, however was a surprise. The previous regime considered him a top coverage talent, someone expected to become a mainstay in the starting lineup

Gruden’s staff has questions about his tackling ability and times where he gets beat deep. They have not, however, given up on him.

“Conley is still a young guy,” Gruden said. “We're going to reiterate that over and over. His career is just getting started. He had a couple plays last week that he's got to get better and improve at. He will.”

It remains uncertain how Melvin fits into the Raiders’ future plans. He only played seven snaps against Seattle, subbing in while Rodgers-Cromartie was being examined by trainers.

Melvin was upset by the game’s events, especially after coaches forced him to use new techniques while playing cornerback. Melvin is clearly upset, maybe done with what he’s been taught this season.

Melvin tweeted this right after the game:

Then he fired another tweet out Monday morning:

That might not help Melvin get on the field, though time will tell on that front.

Gruden made it clear there’s another cornerback he’s excited to see.

“Next week after the bye, hopefully you'll see Nick Nelson who is completely healthy,” Gruden said. “That’s our fourth-round pick, so now we'll throw him into the litter and I'll really confuse you guys.”

It has been odd to see cornerback undecided so late into the year, but Gruden has committed to trying new combinations until satisfied. Nelson might be coming for Hall’s snaps. Nelson has experience in the slot and could step in there.

Paul Guenther searching for Raiders' every-down cornerback tandem

Paul Guenther searching for Raiders' every-down cornerback tandem

ALAMEDA – Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther doesn’t want to rotate cornerbacks as much as he has this season. He would like to establish a proper pecking order, with two every-down outside cornerbacks working with Leon Hall in the slot.

Rashaan Melvin and Gareon Conley have started and certainly played the most, with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie entering for a series or two. That was the case until Daryl Worley returned from suspension.

The 23-year old played a ton Sunday against the L.A. Chargers in his first game back. He did so largely in Conley’s spot. Worley played well, and could consequently earn more playing time moving forward.

“It’s a battle right now,” Guenther said. “Everybody’s competing for jobs. We’re going to go with the hot hand.”

Each outside cornerback has put good tape and bad out there, with the inconsistency that has led Guenther to give several an opportunity to claim a starting spot.

“I want to eventually get to two starting cornerbacks,” Guenther said. “Daryl was one of our best cornerbacks all offseason and he proved again on Sunday that he’s a high-level player. We’ll see how it goes with the snaps based on how guys are playing and the situations we’re facing.”

Conley was expected to be the team’s top cornerback this season, even with Melvin’s addition. He’s extremely talented and an excellent cover man, but has made some mistakes and some have wondering about his tackling ability.

“Gareon had a couple of struggles yesterday,” head coach Jon Gruden said Monday. “Trying to find a right mix. Trying to find a right mix at a lot of positions. Daryl Worley is a good player. I think he was second on our team in tackles. Daryl earned a right to be out there.”

The Raiders remain committed to developing Conley’s talent and will do so at a particular pace.

“He didn’t play as much last year, so he’s basically a rookie player,” Guenther said. “…I don’t want to give him too much right now. We’ll give him little, by little, by little, just like any rookie players. Gareon really only played 1-1/2 games last year and missed a lot of the offseason program.

"It’s no different that any young player. It’s a work in progress.”