Raiders trade options at the deadline, Texans and RIP Willie

The Raiders have moved every first round player from the Reggie McKenzie days, except Karl Joseph. However, Joseph could still get moved before Monday’s deadline.

This week Oakland traded Gareon Conley after missing some crucial tackles last week. Rumors say the talks went on for weeks but the timing makes even Lane Kiffin’s infamous departure from USC even seem prolonged.

Conley was a first rounder in 2017 and one of the better players on the Raiders roster. The Silver and Black traded that for a third rounder from the Texans, the very same week they play them?

Again, the timing seems off. Trading Conley isn’t crazy considering the purge Oakland has done of McKenzie’s draft picks but trading him to your upcoming opponent is awkwardness Mark Davis’ haircut doesn’t even want part of.

Plus, the Raiders are essentially battling the Texans for a Wild Card spot right now. Houston has made several trades to get players to help them win this year, as the AFC is open outside of the Pats. Meanwhile, the Raiders have even better standing, with less talent, but are trading away players instead of acquiring an extra piece to put them in the playoff hunt for their final season in Oakland.

Still, this gets even weirder when you look at the Raiders roster. Oakland’s corners weren’t good with Conley and it will be surprising if they get better without him. Frankly, you look at the defense and see an NFL defense that comps to Al Davis’ most delusional days.

That’s why Raider Nation shouldn’t rule out anything this upcoming trade deadline. San Francisco and New England already looked like favorites for the Super Bowl but even they made moves for veteran receivers who will improve their chances.

Oakland could do the same after they beat Houston. The Raiders could also head for fast sales again if they get dominated by the Texans. The Silver and Black could become buyers or sellers based on this upcoming game. Here are players the Raiders should target before the deadline.

Leonard Williams

This one has been obvious for a few seasons and gets more obvious now that Leonard, on an expiring contract, is being phased for Quinnen Williams. That discounts the Jets asking price majorly, especially cause the Jets are having an underwhelming season.

In the past, Jets have wanted a first round pick for Leonard. Oakland should try and get him with one of their third round selections.

Leonard Williams would instantly make the entire Raiders defense better. His motor and athleticism would free up other solid Raiders players who are probably playing in more situations then they should. Williams gives the Raiders depth to play young players like Mo Hurst and PJ Hall in selected situations they can win instead of every down.

Plus, Williams never really been utilized as a three technique or strong side end like Oakland would use him. He’s been a stand up rusher and two gapper and still been impressive despite never playing his natural position. His versatility, athleticism and connection to Cali makes him a dream trade target.

Vic Beasley

Vic Beasley is probably a more logical trade prospect. Atlanta is even lousier than the Jets and Beasley is underperforming too. The Falcons have been shopping Beasley around a while.

He has not had more than five sacks since his double-digit sack year in 2016. Beasley pays hybrid linebacker roles and his low asking price makes him logical for the Raiders.

If the price is right, I don’t see why not. The Raiders reportedly think he is too small but he might still be Oakland’s best pass rusher the moment he steps into the building. Make the deal if it only costs anything less than a fifth round pick.

A Bengals Player

The Bengals should make some traded because they are really rebuilding in the post Marvin Lewis era. They should look to get some picks for players on big contracts from that regime like Dre Kirkpatrick, AJ Green, Geno Atkins or Carlos Dunlap.

All those players play premium positions. Green and Atkins are among the best at their position. Green is over the age of 30 but he will probably command a first round pick considering Sanu got moved for a second. That’s still hi for Green who deals with injuries every season.

Cincinnati probably holds onto Atkins too. He is under thirty and one of the best players at his position. The Bengals would want at least a first rounder. Dunlap is obviously a perfect scheme fit for Oakland but he is probably also unavailable. Kirkpatrick is also overpaid and battling injuries. The Bengals probably ask for too much and keep all these guys.

They are more likely to move guys like Tyler Kroft, Gio Bernard or Tyler Eifert. They are not the same household names but solid NFL players. I wouldn’t count out trading for any of those players considering Oakland’s ties with the Bengals through Paulie G.

A Dolphins/Redskins Player

Speaking of mining bad teams for talent to trade for, Oakland could call bad Miami and Washington deals for talent. But they don’t really need T Trent Williams from Washington who is on the block. Maybe Josh Norman but is he available? How about Paul Richardson who has been eh since going to Washington?

Then, you look at Miami’s Kenyan Drake or Davante Parker. Parker could be solid but we have been saying that for years and Oakland does not need another big possession received. They need a speedster. Drake is a speedster out of the gate but he is neither a big scheme fit and the Raiders are good at running back with Jacobs.

A Corner

Finally, there is the corner market. This is probably where the Raiders should make a move. Chris Harris, Xavien Howard, Patrick Peterson and Xavier Rhodes have all been on the block most of the season. I don’t think you make the Conley move unless you wanted to play here but who knows.

Nonetheless, Oakland is not paying the premium price for the booming secondary market. We saw Peters and Ramsey get moved for prices the Raiders weren’t going to pay.

Harris is a division rival which makes trading for him complicated. Rhodes and Peterson would cost a first round pick to Miami or Arizona. Howard might go for a mid rounder but is he better than Conley?

Other guys like Artie Burns, Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins are also on the board. But one man’s trash or big ass contract is not the Raiders’ gain.

It will be surprising to see the Raiders make any move but anything is possible given the team’s surprising standings and the surprisingly booming NFL trade rumors.

+ The Texans

Back to game day, the Raiders got a big game day coming up versus the Texans. It is big coming after the loss of Raiders icon Willie Brown. Brown was a Walking Raiders historian, mentor and member of the culture for decades. Look him up if you do not know. You might remember Oakland beat the Texans after Al’s death so hope is on their side again this time.0

It is also big for the Raiders race in the Wild Card. Oakland could’ve beat Green Bay or at least competed for four quarters if they did not make some crucial mistakes. However, you could say that for a lot of teams. The margin for victory will be small.

That is why this week will be big. How does Derek Carr rebound from a game where his mistakes cost the team critical possessions? How does the team look against a Houston team going for broke yo try and win by trading picks? What does Conley do versus his old team? Will DeShaun Watson tear up the Raiders defense like Rodgers last year? Does the secondary improve without Conley? Does Zay Jones make a debut for Oakland? Will the pass rush show up?

There are a lot of questions that will get answered in the Raiders final game of the first half of the season. This game could determine if the Raiders are a young team prepping for a rebuild or a surprise playoff team.

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