10 Thoughts On The Raiders Offseason

It’s been a busy month for the Raiders. From trade rumors around Derek Carr to the deal with Pittsburgh to add Mr. Big Chest, there has been no shortage of excitement around a team that, quite frankly, hasn’t offered a lot of in-game excitement over the past two years.

Sifting through everything that’s happened over the last month, here are a few thoughts about the Raiders’ still very young offseason.

– The Athletic’s Vic Tafur believes the door “definitely closed a bit” on any chance Marshawn Lynch has of returning to the Raiders. If you’ve followed the tone of what Jon Gruden and others have been saying, it doesn’t sound like Lynch has made a decision yet. The same thing happened last year, but this year it seems like Lynch might be leaning more toward not playing.

Furthermore, it doesn’t feel like the Raiders are as curious this year to find out what Lynch wants to do.

– The Redskins and Giants should both be sniffing around what it would cost to trade for Derek Carr. It’s for that reason that until the draft over, it’s hard to be sure of anything. As David Carr pointed out, what would Gruden do if the Raiders were offered two more first-round picks for Carr?

With that in mind, it really doesn’t sound like Gruden wants to trade Carr, so he’d have to be blown away by an offer to pull the trigger on a trade.

– “I don’t think Brown has any baggage.”

That’s what Gruden said of Antonio Brown this week to NFL Network’s Jim Trotter. Quite honestly, this might be one of the more comical statements Gruden made over the last few weeks. There’s a reason Brown came to the Raiders for barely more than the cost of Martavis Bryant and there’s a reason no team was willing to offer the Steelers more.

Certainly the Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger shared responsibility for Brown’s unhappiness in Pittsburgh, but let’s not pretend AB was 100% the victim. If things go sideways in Oakland this year, let’s see how flattering Gruden and Brown are of one another. With that in mind, expect the Raiders to give defenses a steady diet of AB… and it would be wise to draft him in your fantasy league.

– The Raiders are pretending they have options with the fourth overall pick, but doesn’t it seem like they have little choice but to add an edge rusher with the pick?

Solid edge rushers rarely fall in the first round and Paul Guenther might lose his mind if the Raiders don’t give him help at the position. If Ed Oliver can play defensive end in Guenther’s scheme, could he be the pick over Quinnen Williams?

– Tyrell Williams can be cut after the season with zero dead money. Don’t you think Gruden might like to add N’Keal Harry and let him learn for a year before stepping into a full-time role in 2020?

Based on the way William’s contract is structured, there’s a decent chance something like this happens.

– Nothing about the way the Raiders approached Jared Cook in free agency would suggest they wanted him back. Sure, Gruden talked like losing Cook was a disappointing loss, but the plan was always to move on.

Call it a mutual break up.

– The consensus among people connected to the Raiders seems to be that Kolton Miller will remain at left tackle even with Trent Brown in town. That plan comes with the presumption that Miller will be a lot better in his second year. It’s way too early to talk like this, but plan B might be to move Trent Brown to left tackle and see what Brandon Parker can do in his second year at right tackle.

The odds of this scenario playing out are probably as good as any other.

– Mike Mayock’s presence in Oakland cannot be understated. He and Gruden played negotiations perfectly to get Antonio Brown. Remember when the Steelers were trying to get a first-round pick and more for AB?

Considering how bad the Raiders needed a wide receiver, they wouldn’t have caught any criticism (over here at least) for giving the Steelers their latest first-round pick to get Brown. Somehow they ended up keeping their second-round pick, too. Honestly, who cares about the fifth rounder in the deal? Only so many rookies can make the final roster anyway.

– A little prediction of sorts…

The Raiders have four picks in the top 35 of the draft and the consensus seems to be that they should use at least three of those picks on defense.

But Gruden has to be in love with some of the offensive talent at the end of the first round. Just a guess, but look for Gruden to get two offensive players with his top four picks and work some kind of trade (or free agent signing) to add another impact player on defense.

– Mayock said the Raiders added an “alpha male” to the locker room in Antonio Brown. They definitely added a strong personality in Brown, but we’ll have to see about the rest.

Gruden will need to be straightforward with AB. He’ll need to be consistent, too. In the past, Gruden has chosen certain players and called them out publicly. That might not be a fine idea with Brown.

twitter: @raidersbeat


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