AFC West: Josh Gordon

Are Raiders buyers in trade market?

October, 29, 2013
On one end of the Oakland Raiders' in-season trade spectrum rests the deal from two years ago that brought Carson Palmer to town for what turned out to be a first-round draft pick and a second-rounder and a whole lot of what-ifs ... but no playoffs.

On the other end, the 1983 deal that landed the Raiders cornerback Mike Haynes from the New England Patriots for a first- and second-rounder and, it turns out, a Super Bowl ring.

[+] EnlargeGreg Jennings
Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY SportsWould the Raiders go after a receiver such as Minnesota's Greg Jennings?
Somewhere in the middle, the 1988 swap with Washington that saw Jay Schroeder go from perceived savior to perceived villain, and it cost the Raiders offensive tackle Jim Lachey.

So with the NFL trade deadline at 4 p.m ET Tuesday, where do these 3-4 Raiders sit in terms of deal philosophy? It doesn’t sound like they’re all that interested.

“Well, there’s a reason why you go to training camp ... a reason why you have an offseason program,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said in his weekly news conference Monday. “It’s so that you can install your schemes and what you want to do offensively, defensively, in the kicking game, how you’re going to build the culture of your football team.

“It’s just hard to bring a guy in in the middle of the year and think that he’s going to come in and have a chance to be really effective for you midway through the year. I just think it’s a tough proposition to think that you’re going to bring somebody in that’s going to make a huge difference. But we’ll see.”

Fans are pounding the drum for Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon or even Minnesota Vikings receiver Greg Jennings, the former Green Bay Packers wideout who would be well known to Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie.

Yes, the Raiders, who have six straight games against teams that currently do not have a winning record, are angling to go on a little run. But if one thing was made evident in Sunday’s 21-18 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland needs a veteran presence at wide receiver.

Denarius Moore was rendered moot by Ike Taylor for the most part. Jacoby Ford had the worst game of his NFL career, as did rookie Brice Butler.

“I just think we’ve got to get better production overall from that position,” Allen said. “Again, it’s the consistency factor. We’ve got to be a lot more consistent in doing our job and making the plays we’ve got the opportunity to make, whether it be in the run game blocking, whether it be running our routes exactly right and catching the football.

“That will be an area we’re going to emphasize to make sure we improve in that area.”

Now, Allen was not talking about a trade specifically. But what could the Raiders offer in trade value?

McKenzie loves his draft picks and it’s hard to imagine him parting with anything above a fourth-rounder. And even running back Darren McFadden, who is in a contract year and would seemingly be prime trade bait, seems to be rounding into shape after missing a game with a strained hamstring.

The Raiders, though, like the rest of the NFL, seem ready to stand pat for the most part as the trade deadline comes and goes.

Besides, health appears to be on their side, as they should soon regain the services of linebacker Miles Burris (knee), rookie left tackle Menelik Watson (calf), right tackle Tony Pashos (hip), left guard/center Andre Gurode (quad) and possibly left tackle Jared Veldheer (left triceps).

And a combo of those guys might be better than any trade the Raiders could swing in the current climate.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The idea of trading for tight end Tony Gonzalez and having him around to help with the drive to win the AFC West championship and get the Kansas City Chiefs to the Super Bowl is a sound one.

It’s just not a very realistic one and with regard to anything short of that, the Chiefs should pass at Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline and move ahead with their roster as it’s presently constituted.

There doesn’t appear to be much the Chiefs could realistically do to improve. They could use receiving help at wide out and tight end, but is anything out there and, again, reasonably obtainable better than Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Anthony Fasano and Sean McGrath? Players available at this time of year are that way for a reason, and it’s usually because they’re someone else’s trash.

[+] EnlargeAlex Smith
Denny Medley/USA TODAY SportsWould trading for an elite receiver or tight end help Chiefs QB Alex Smith be a more productive passer?
The other thing is compensation. The Chiefs already will give their second-round draft choice in 2014 as part of the trade that brought quarterback Alex Smith from the San Francisco 49ers. So if the Chiefs, say, give their third-round pick to the Cleveland Browns in return for wide receiver Josh Gordon, next year’s draft for Kansas City is for all intents and purposes a one-player deal. Even then, it might not be a great player because the Chiefs will inevitably be picking at or toward the end of the first round.

(A brief interlude to say that after watching Gordon play against the Chiefs on Sunday, I would part with a third-round pick for him. Problem is, that’s not realistic because the Browns wouldn’t take that deal).

There’s a school of thought that says the Chiefs at 8-0 should go all-in and need to make every effort to get to the Super Bowl this season, even if sacrificing next year’s draft is the cost. If you’re on that bandwagon, just don’t complain the next time the Chiefs are 2-14 because that’s where they’re inevitably headed if they’re going to sacrifice next year’s draft.

Here’s the other thing: Are the Chiefs as they are now good enough to win the Super Bowl? They certainly don’t need to change a thing on defense, where they have a handful of guys playing as well or better than they’ve ever played.

They need to make plenty of improvement on offense and even though it hasn’t happened through the season’s first half, it’s reasonable to think it can over the final eight games. Bowe is on pace for 52 catches, 600 yards and four touchdowns, far from his career averages.

That’s obviously the first place to look for growth. Others include Avery, who has had two big games and six mediocre ones, Dexter McCluster, an offensive line that should be delivering more and even quarterback Alex Smith, who is completing only 59 percent of his passes but has the capability of being much higher.

There’s certainly no reason for Chiefs general manager John Dorsey to panic. He’s better off sitting tight with the roster he has than mortgaging the fortune with an iffy move made now.

AFC West links: Exit Cutler, enter Peyton

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