The late February edition of the Oakland Raiders Weekly Roundup. Here, we’ll pull together any notable Silver and Black news from the previous week and put it together all in one place.
This is a bit of a lull period in the NFL, stuck between the Super Bowl and the NFL combine. But nonetheless, there is plenty to talk about as it pertains to the Oakland Raiders.
The combine opens with player interviews and administrative business on Tuesday, but really doesn’t get rolling until Friday (March 2). That’s when RBs, O-linemen and special teams players will be showing their stuff. That’s also when the Raiders and 49ers flip a coin for the ninth pick in the 2018 draft. Loser gets the tenth pick.
The rest of the players roll through the combine over the weekend, finishing up with DBs on Monday, March 5.
Even though it’s a bit of a slow time, there is always news about the Silver and Black. It’s the NFL. There’s always something to discuss. And what better way to start things off than with a little bit of good news?
Raiders Get Four Compensatory Picks
After letting ten of their free agents walk last offseason, the Raiders will receive four compensatory draft picks in the 2018 draft. All four compensatory picks are in the sixth round, giving them a total of six in the sixth (nos. 171, 178, 210, 212, 216 and 217). This gives the Raiders 11 total draft picks in what is thought to be a very, very deep draft.
Reggie McKenzie has mined some talent in the sixth round. In fact, the Raiders are recouping these picks because of losing sixth round selections Latavius Murray, Stacey McGee, Mychal Rivera, and then also D.J. Hayden and Menelik Watson. Throw in former UDFA’s Andre Holmes and Brynden Trawick and draft pedigree isn’t high among the departed. Matt McGloin, Nate Allen and Daren Bates round out the list.
Murray and McGee found success with their new (Minnesota and Washington respectively) teams. McKenzie got good years from them before letting them walk, and has now recouped their original draft value. Their values as actual players outweighs that draft value now, of course, but it is proof, along with T.J. Carrie, Treyvon Hester and others, that McKenzie can find talent in the later rounds.
Couple that with the Raiders now having a stable of picks to offer in trade, and the Raiders suddenly have more options to build depth and talent if everything is managed properly. A slew of later round picks is vital in making some deals that may not happen a little more enticing. Options are nice:
Raiders just awarded 4 extra compensatory picks in 6th round of 2018 draft, making 6 total draft picks in 6th round. If you're Reggie, what you do?
— REALISTIC RAIDER FAN (@alanbeggs7) February 23, 2018
FWIW, 68% say trade up. McKenzie nails the sixth. Either way, again, it’s nice to have options.
Speaking of trades, the Chiefs are at it again. Not content to get rid of their starting quarterback, now…
The Chiefs Trade Marcus Peters
And good riddance says Andy Reid and the coaching staff. Peters’ antics and disagreements with the coaching staff are well-documented. They suspended him for a game in 2017 due to his behavior, which had to do with an argument with a coach. It all clearly wore thin with Reid despite his talent. That’s fine with Raider Nation, who are happy to see a young and electric player out of the division.
While this isn’t 100% finalized yet…
Chiefs are expected to trade CB Marcus Peters to the Los Angeles Rams, sources tell ESPN. Teams are in final stages of talks and barring an unexpected snag, the trade is expected to be agreed to as early as today.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 23, 2018
But this is only because trades cannot become official until the new league year begins on March 14, however, this is a done deal according to all reports.
The news got better for the Raiders, with the report that DE Robert Quinn was NOT part of the deal:
At one point, the #Chiefs were pushing to trade for DE Robert Quinn, along with a draft pick. But sounds like now it’ll be just draft picks going over to KC for Marcus Peters.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 23, 2018
Peters is a special player. His 55 passes defensed and 19 interceptions since entering the league in 2015 both lead the NFL in that timeframe. In the past 25 years, only the incredible Ed Reed (22) had more interceptions than Peters (21 total, including playoffs) in their first three seasons. This is not an everyday player, or even a regular star player. He is a game-changing player. Defensive rookie of the year. All-Pro.
The Rams get a transcendent talent at a bargain-basement rate. Peters is still under his rookie deal and slated to make $1.8M next season, with a fifth-year rookie option still on the table. That would be ludicrously cheap for any decent player in the NFL. It’s outright thievery for an NFL All-Pro corner who’s a turnover machine.
It’s not clear yet what the Chiefs are getting in return but the rumors aren’t pretty:
The rumor that the Chiefs didn't get a first round pick for Marcus Peters is more infuriating than them trading him in the first place. If that is true, the front office is incompetent.
— Patrick Allen (@RPatrickAllen) February 24, 2018
If this is the case? Yikes. Even if it isn’t it will be tough for the Chiefs to win out in this deal. They are clearly gambling that his mercurial behavior will make the trade worth it, but Peters’ behavior mostly seems to stem from deep passion and love for the game coupled with a bit of youth and immaturity. There is only one way a player this young, at his price and talent, gets traded and that is if he is out of control.
But no arrests, player conduct violations or anything really than getting upset on the field and arguing with his coaches have marred Peters thus far. But such is his reputation that, even though the trade isn’t official, resident NFL pot-stirrer Mike Florio is already there to question whether Wade Phillips and the Rams can handle Peters.
Check the tape. Peters clearly did not enjoy being in Kansas City in 2017. Between cursing out his own fans to turning that to his coaching staff, to many of his post-game comments and hanging with Marshawn Lynch, Peters heart was never in Kansas City. I think the Rams get a great young player at a bargain-basement price who will bring his all every day to a new team. And the Chiefs are fools for making this trade. Keep it up, Chiefs.
Moves in the NFL generally cause dominoes to fall, and this is no exception. With Peters now going to the Rams, after two years of franchise tagging…
Trumaine Johnson is a Potential Free Agent Target
Friend of Only1Nation and Pro Football Focus guru Austin Gayle wrote a recent piece about the Raiders approach to free agency. In it, he advises NaVorro Bowman is their key re-signing. Much agreed, and I would add the perennially underappreciated T.J. Carrie to that list as well.
So while that takes care of MLB — and with Cory James and Marquel Lee there’s some depth — Carrie’s re-signing doesn’t solve the Raiders back-end needs. However, not re-signing him would exacerbate them.
Reggie McKenzie hasn’t made a lot of huge splash free agent signings. Even his “big” signings revolve around offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Rodney Hudson. While great signings, they don’t raise the NFL Q meter.
Does he make a splash this year? Peters trade to the Rams clearly makes Trumaine Johnson expendable now. Which Raiders Twitter pounced on immediately:
But now start the Trumaine Johnson to the #Raiders
— raider824 (@Raider824) February 23, 2018
Johnson has been a good player his entire career. Some would say great. Raiders Twitter certainly thinks so:
I don't want any high risk high reward players for the Raiders. I want "chip on their shoulder" players and productive players minus the drama. Give me Trumaine Johnson and I'm happy. Draft to improve the Raider D-line and I'm happy. I want people who want to win pronto.
— JohnnyFaam (@JohnnyFaam_) February 23, 2018
The only thing is, based on his unwillingness to negotiate a long-term deal for two seasons in a row coupled with his current astronomically high base salary of $16.742M, I don’t see Johnson as a win-now chip on his shoulder guy. All signs point to a player who frankly overvalues himself a bit, and who is now making so much money there’s no way he’ll be willing to drop too far from that. If he is, well then why not stay with the Rams, who are an up and coming team and have a familiar defensive scheme?
Johnson is a good player. He is not a star player. He’s a sure tackler at the corner position, and is pretty good in coverage. The Rams have franchised him two years in a row, unable to work out a long term deal. He’s a UFA, and with Peters in the fold it’s unlikely the Rams bring him back.
The double-franchise tag has put his salary into the stratosphere, and it’s likely he’ll be asking for $12M per season or more. This will put him in the top 8 of CB salary — he is not a top 8 corner. Someone will overpay for him, but his ask coupled with a negotiation track record that appears difficult, means McKenzie is likely out.
Couple that with the depth in this year’s draft, the Raiders plethora of picks, Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu coming back healthy and other free agent cornerbacks like Kyle Fuller looking better for the money, it’s unlikely Johnson will be in a Raiders uniform in 2018.
That’s true for yet another player many of Raiders fans wanted, after news came out that…
The Dolphins Franchise Tag Jarvis Landry
Miami certainly wasted no time. Franchise tag day opened the morning of Feb 20, and by the time he’d had a cup of coffee, Jarvis Landry was back in that menacing teal and orange for a $16M price tag.
So a player who may have commanded a max of $14M per season in free agency just got a couple more to stay home. That takes him off the Raiders radar — or it better. Who wants to pay $16M for a receiver that plays mostly in the slot and while a top talent, isn’t a game-changer in the AB or Julio Jones mold?
Plus, it would require a trade — AND paying Landry that ridiculous salary in 2018. Landry and the team that would’ve overpaid him in FA are the clear winners with this move. Who knows what the Dolphins are doing, but they clearly think they can either win with Landry or someone will take him off their hands at that price – and pay to do it.
Good luck with that.
While Landry is off the radar…
Someone who has been on the radar — and the airwaves — a lot since returning to Oakland is Jon Gruden. He stopped in San Francisco for an interview with Tolbert & Lund on KNBR last Wednesday and…
Gruden Shares Thoughts On Improving The Roster
Gruden opened the interview with his trademark enthusiasm, but emphasized the team is still far from where he wants it. He spoke of upcoming plans:
“We’ve got a ways to go, but we’re implementing our scheme, we’re preparing for free agency, and the draft, and we’re getting ready to go to the combine in Indianapolis and we’re going to do all we can to bring the Silver and Black back,” Gruden said.
The key message Gruden spoke on was developing a continuity in the football system. After seeing the offensive regression under Todd Downing, who implemented a new hybrid zone-running scheme and tweaked things that were working and in place for two seasons, he’s absolutely right:
“We also, I think, have got to put a system in place here that our players can grow within,” Gruden said. “We have had 10 different head coaches, I believe, since I’ve been here. We’ve had a number of different offensive coaches.”
He also alluded to organizational difficulties when systems change, mentioning GM McKenzie specifically:
“Poor Reggie McKenize has had to draft players to fit different schemes and systems and I think it’s hurt us. A lack of continuity, a lack of system football on offense and defense has certainly hurt the Raiders.”
That it has. But Gruden was given the freedom to hand-pick his own staff. An excellent staff with tons of experience and NFL success. Gruden and McKenzie work closely together. Mark Davis gave him a monstrous 10-year contract. There is no Earthly reason for the Raiders NOT to have continuity from here on out.
For his part Gruden knows how important that is not only for the on-field product, but for a long-suffering fanbase:
“This place is starving, I think to get back on top,” Gruden said. “It’s an honor to be here. I know that I have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to prove.”
A lot of work to do.
That work starts this weekend in full with the combine. Check out the NFL Network on Friday, March 2 for coverage and check back with Only1Nation frequently for updates, analysis and thoughts on the combine and everything else Silver and Black. See ya next week!