Now with a trade some are unhappy with, followed by a trade that needed to be done in the rear view, Reggie's next order of business is regarding the most polarizing figure on the Raiders' roster, Darren McFadden. After year two, some lost faith in him due to propensity to injury and his running style making him go down easily. I believed he was a product of the coaching staff's preference for Justin Fargas and Michael Bush and thought he deserved patience. He proved many right and wrong with his best season that year rushing for over 1100 yards and accounting for 10 TDs. He followed that up with a stellar start to the 2011 season and a ridiculous rushing average of 5.4.
Unfortunately the season was cut short in week 7 against KC and again missed multiple games last season along with one of his worst statistical seasons rushing for just over 700 yards and a 3.4 average. To blame the blocking scheme is fair as he never had success in his limited experience in the scheme earlier.
Now approaching his final year of his contract, comes some necessary questions. The offensive changes seem catered around his skill set so a trade is unlikely. However how much faith should the staff and front-office have in a player who they've invested so much financially and has yet to complete a full season? Also teams with elite running backs have had mixed to little success. Other than the Texans, Adrian Peterson with the Vikings, Chris Johnson wih the Titans, Matt Forte with the Bears, and Marshawn Lynch with the Seahawks all haven't been perennial playoff contenders. The value of the running back is not what it once was when teams were begging for the services the likes of Clinton Portis, Thurman Thomas or an Emmit Smith.
Another factor is a trade could free up approximately $5.5 million in cap space to sign a starting caliber tight end or free safety which Oakland doesn't have at the moment as well as high as a 3rd round pick in my opinion. Also if McFadden is not in the Raiders' long term plans, a trade makes sense now before he is allowed to walk for free in 2014 or worse, following a serious injury to end the 2013 season. However if he is in their long term plans than they should move swiftly to resign him to an extension this year and provide some cap relief now. Either move would not upset me since I've lived through the death of DT Leon Bender five weeks after being drafted by Al, the release of Tim Brown only to finish his career as a Tampa Bay Buc, and watching Marcus Allen own the Raiders in his first 11 meetings. Let me know what you think.