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McFadden, Merriman on the move?

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said on ESPN Radio Thursday morning that two high-profile AFC West players could be available during the draft. Mortensen said Oakland could move running back Darren McFadden and San Diego could trade linebacker Shawne Merriman.

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MerrimanMerrimanThe McFadden talk is surprising. He was the No. 4 overall pick in 2008. McFadden hasn’t made much of an impact and has often been injured. Still, as of now, McFadden and Michael Bush are expected to carry the load at running back for Oakland. Justin Fargas was released earlier this offseason.

If the Raiders want to trade McFadden, perhaps they are preparing to draft a running back. Clemson running back C.J. Spiller has the world-class speed that Oakland owner Al Davis craves, but so does McFadden. That’s why he was picked so high when Oakland had other glaring needs two years ago. Spiller would require Oakland’s’ top pick, which is No. 8 overall.

Perhaps the Raiders will look for a running back later in the draft. Still, I think dealing McFadden may be difficult because of his lack of production. Plus, this is a very deep running back class, so it would be surprising if a team gave up much for McFadden. There’s no way Oakland will get fair-market value in return. Oakland can’t just give away the No. 4 overall pick from two years ago. In the end, I’d be surprised if McFadden was traded.

I’d be less surprised if Merriman was sent packing, although I’m not necessarily expecting it. There has been talk of Merriman’s availability all offseason. Merriman would have to sign his restricted free-agency tender to facilitate a trade. If a team wanting to trade for Merriman is willing to give him a new contract, I’d imagine he wouldn’t have a problem signing his tender to kick start the trade.

Will these deals happen? We’ll see soon. It just adds to the excitement of the weekend.