It has become painfully obvious this season that the Raiders need help at the defensive tackle position. Some analysts think that need warrants a big time move at the trade deadline.
First it was Sports Illustrated who thinks Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short should be a target, with Greg Bedard suggesting the Raiders send a first round pick Carolina’s way for the 27-year-old Pro Bowl tackle.
“The Raiders are soft in the middle, which has led to star OLB Khalil Mack getting doubled teamed and so his sack numbers are down. To put it simply, the Raiders are in need of a big force in the middle of their lineup. Gettleman isn’t going to want to jettison more talent on the back of the Josh Norman decision), but he should. Short is in a contract year and contract extension talks have not gone well. The Panthers also have other players to worry about, like RG Trai Turner, LG Andrew Norwell and DE Kony Ealy, and if they put the franchise tag on Short, they’ll likely find themselves in the same place as they did with Norman: not close on the player’s value. Instead of getting nothing in return again, like they did with Norman, the Panthers should cash out with the playoffs unlikely. Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie shouldn’t blink at sending a first-round pick. Short is worth the pick. The Raiders have plenty of cap room to sign him to an extension and he’ll be in the middle of that defense for years to come.”
Bedard also mentioned that the Raiders won’t be taken seriously as playoff contenders until they fix their defensive issues. Seemingly taking the approach to the trade deadline that you expect from Major League Baseball, where contending teams trade prospects for proven starters from teams that are out of it. The team out of it in this scenario being the 1-5 Panthers.
Then there’s Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson who put among the top five trades he’d like to see happen is the Raiders going after Sheldon Richardson.
“I’m not 100 percent convinced the Jets actually want to move any of their defensive linemen. Everybody assumes that because they have three players that all effectively do similar things, one of them is the odd man out. First it was Muhammad Wilkerson, then when he got a big contract, it became Sheldon Richardson. It wouldn’t shock me if they actually like the situation in which they have all three (Leonard Williams being the third player), but if we assume for a moment that Richardson is available if the right offer comes along, Oakland is the team best-situated to make it happen.”
While Monson goes on to acknowledge that Mario Edwards Jr is badly missed by the line, neither he nor Bedard’s trade ideas mention the fact that the Raiders will get Edwards back probably after the bye week, which means they will have just two more games without him.
So, should Reggie McKenzie really ‘not blink’ at the idea of sending a first round pick to fill a position that will only be in need for the next two weeks?
I absolutely agree that the Raiders have a big need at defensive tackle. There’s no question about it. And while Edwards’s return will help greatly, he won’t solve that problem. But is it so dire that giving up a first round pick to fill it? I guess we’ll have to see.
There was one additional trade idea that came out today via NFL.com that looks far more sensible than selling the farm to get a hog. Connor Orr suggests the Raiders trade a sixth round pick to the Eagles for tight end Brent Celek.
“The Eagles have tight end Zach Ertz signed to a deal that theoretically runs through 2021, and they also have Trey Burton on the roster. Relegating a solid veteran like Celek to blocking duties is fine, especially given his knowledge and experience in the system. But Raiders offensive coordinator and former Eagles assistant Bill Musgrave also knows Celek and could get some usage out of the tight end beyond the standard bootleg pass every now and then. Clive Walford only has 16 catches for the Raiders to this point in the season, and opening up the field for Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree should be priority No. 1.”
Lee Smith lost for the season and Walford has underperformed. The 31-year-old Celek is a steady contributor as a receiver. And at 6-4, 261 pounds, he is nearly the same size as Smith with blocking abilities of his own. That could be worth a 6th round pick.
The trade deadline is next Tuesday. We’ll soon see if the Raiders make a move.