The Cleveland Browns used to be the NFL standard for dysfunction. Now under former Green Bay Packers personnel exec and Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey (and half the Packers front office), the Browns seemingly have righted that ship. The Oakland Raiders now appear to be assuming the mantle.
And boy are they doing one hell of a job.
The Raiders gave the Chicago Bears Khalil Mack, arguably the best defensive player in the game, after refusing to give him a contract extension. There were rumors that the Raiders wouldn’t even discuss a new deal with Mack, who held out until the trade. The Bears then made Mack the highest-played defensive player in the game.
Next came news that both receiver Amari Cooper and safety Karl Joseph were available via trade. Both are former first-round picks. They’re first-round picks made by another former Packers personnel exec, Reggie McKenzie.
McKenzie, at least in title, remains the general manager of the Raiders.
Cooper has had his moments, going for more than 1,000 yards in his first two seasons. Then he only had 680 yards last season. Cooper has 280 yards through six games in 2018 with a single touchdown. He is being outperformed by “old man” Jordy Nelson, who has 323 yards and three touchdowns through six games.
Joseph never really worked out as planned. He had 79 tackles and one interception last year. Joseph hasn’t made a start and doesn’t have any tackles in three games played this year.
If you’re thinking the Packers should trade for either of these guys, no they shouldn’t. They already have plenty of receivers. They can potentially get even more by returning either Jake Kumerow or Trevor Davis from injured reserve. And neither of those potential moves even seems probable.
Even though the Packers have issues at safety with Kentrell Brice, they don’t need to take on someone else’s bust right now. Besides, Joseph is a strong safety. The Packers seemingly only employ strong safeties right now. They need a damn free safety.
Next comes word that the Raiders are shopping cornerback Gareon Conley. This guy was the Raiders first-round pick LAST YEAR. Conley has started all season for the Raiders. Most of the other starts have gone to Rashaan Melvin. However, if you believe PFF, they are both being outperformed by a couple of old men. Grades for the Raiders regular corners through six weeks.
- Leon Hall (12th season in the league): 67.4
- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (11th): 67.0
- Conley (2nd): 58.9
- Melvin: (8th): 56.3
Only in the past two weeks did the Raiders start giving third-year cornerback Daryl Worley heavy snaps. He has a 62.0 grade.
Conley deserves more of a chance, whether in Oakland or elsewhere, but the Packers are stacked at corner. Like Cooper, they don’t need the guy. It’s also extremely stupid to trade a first-round pick not even two seasons into his career. Your compensation isn’t going to be anywhere near that first-round level. So why not try to coach him up?
Apparently, that isn’t what Jon Gruden is interested in doing.
No one around the league seems to know who is running the Raiders at the moment. Is it McKenzie or is it Gruden?
Gruden was handed a 10-year, $100 million deal prior to the season. You would assume he’s the guy. But there appears to be no clear power structure.
What’s underneath that stupid-ass bowl cut of yours Mark Davis? A matryoshka doll? Perhaps we’ll get to the smallest one and figure out, hell, there’s nothing in here.
Ian Rapoport has now suggested that other executives are making calls to both McKenzie and Gruden about potential trades. That they hope to get a better deal from one after talking to the other.
— NFL GameDay (@NFLGameDay) October 21, 2018
Also, it is now believed that every player on the Raiders roster is available. How about that?
It seems like this thing could be picked clean.
Where do the Packers need help? Edge rusher, free safety and defensive line depth.
Who is there to like on the Raiders?
Unfortunately, the Raiders play a 4-3 and the Packers play a 3-4, so there’s not really a true outside linebacker type there for the plucking. There is defensive end Bruce Irvin, however.
Irvin has three sacks this season. He had a career-high eight last year. Surely, Packers defensive coordinator Mike Pettine could find a role for Irvin.
At free safety, you’re looking at Reggie Nelson. He’s a little long in the tooth at age 35, but made the Pro Bowl in both 2015 and 2016. Hard to say if someone like Nelson would be the answer, but the Packers could use another veteran leader in the secondary. They could also use someone who is assignment sure, unlike Kentrell Brice.
We’ll see what happens here. Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst has shown he’s not afraid to make or try to make trades. The Packers were in on Mack, something that never would have been a consideration under Ted Thompson.
As for the Raiders, Chucky is tearing this thing down. The fact that he or the team is suddenly ready to give up on McKenzie’s high draft picks seems to signal an end to McKenzie as the Raiders general manager. It will be no surprise if that happens immediately after the season and Gruden is given full control.
Gruden has publicly denied questions of tanking the season. The NFL beat guys in the know are suggesting he is looking at a two-year rebuild, though.
We know this. The Raiders aren’t winning now. They’re looking at being competitive when they move to Las Vegas, which is still likely two years out. That sucks for guys like Derek Carr, Marshawn Lynch and Jordy Nelson.
It also makes you wonder if Gruden still knows anything about coaching or running a football team.