The NFL’s trade deadline is usually lackluster when compared to other sports such as Major League Baseball. That is often because teams aren’t too inclined to trade young talent, and contenders don’t typically want a rental player they could lose come March.
However, this doesn’t mean the Las Vegas Raiders should sit idly by. With it’s current state, there are too many glaring holes on the roster for the front office to ignore.
The front office has sent all the signs of wanting to be serious. They traded for high-end wide receiver Davante Adams. They signed high-profile edge rusher Chandler Jones and re-signed several key pieces to extensions.
If they’re serious about wanting to win this year, they should look to make a move or two before the November 1st deadline. Here are some options the team should look into to fix some current standing issues.
3 Las Vegas Raiders Trade Targets
Target No. 1: Roquan Smith, LB, Chicago Bears
Denzel Perryman is the best linebacker on the roster. It’s not even close at this point. While some of the others have been efficient at times, it’s apparent that the group is missing another playmaker.
That becomes even more obvious when Perryman’s out. This is where Roquan Smith could step in to fill that void.
Smith currently leads the league in tackles with 78. He’s also tallied two and a half sacks thus far.
No other player on the roster, outside Maxx Crosby, has more than one sack to their name. The Raiders have had issues getting after the quarterback all season. A recurring theme is discussed later on.
Smith would be a really nice piece for this defense and a new shiny toy for defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. However, in order to pull this deal off, there would be a hefty price tag.
The price wouldn’t just involve draft capital but also the cost of a new contract.
Smith more than likely would have liked a commitment from his new team before a deal went through.
However, this regime has shown they’ll pay for players they view are worth it, so it may not be completely out of the realm of possibility.
Target No. 2: William Jackson III, CB, Washington Commanders
The Raiders’ secondary is not going to win any awards any time soon. While they’ve had solid moments, unfortunately, they are few and far between.
The front office has tried to find suitable options to play opposite Nate Hobbs in guys like Anthony Averett and Sam Webb, but neither have stood out to make a name for themselves.
Granted, Averett was injured for four of the first six games and only played 30 percent of the snaps in Week 1.
With Hobbs out due to injury, it might be a good idea to look into some insurance if one or both of these guys are injured later in the season.
In his first four years, Jackson has held opposing quarterbacks to less than a 60% completion percentage.
This year, he’s been off to a slow start, giving up 17 receptions on 24 targets in four games. He’s also yet to record an interception.
However, he might find more success in a new place and scheme. It’s been reported that Jackson made a trade request, but he has openly denied the rumors.
However, as is always the case, rumors should be taken with a grain of salt. That shouldn’t deter Dave Ziegler and Co. from pursuing Jackson if Washington is going to listen to offers.
Target No. 3: Daron Payne, DT, Washington Commanders
The Raiders currently have nine sacks as a team. Six from Crosby, one from Perryman, one from Hobbs, and Clelin Ferrell and Jones have split a sack.
While Ferrell has lined up inside, no other defensive tackle has recorded a sack.
In fact, Bilal Nichols has the most pressures out of the group with five, according to Pro Football Reference.
A player of Payne’s caliber is desperately needed. By himself, he has three and a half sacks and 12 pressures.
His presence would make life so much easier for the aforementioned Jones and Crosby on the outside.
Payne would draw more attention by not allowing a guard to double team with a tackle to neutralize one of the edge rushers.
The Raiders have to generate more pressure on the quarterback if they want to be considered contenders this season.
It’s apparent no one on the current roster is capable of consistently doing just that.
With the recent trade of Johnathan Hankins, it’s clear that the front office may be looking to improve the interior defensive line.
Super Bowl or Bust?
From the outside, it appears that the Las Vegas Raiders are all in on a win-now mentality.
The offseason moves, combined with the extensions granted, give this appearance.
If that is the case, the front office needs to address some holes in the roster sooner rather than later.
Outside of players getting cut, the trade deadline is the only feasible way to do that mid-season.
A 2-4 start doesn’t bode well for Super Bowl aspirations. Especially given that this team has been a team of two halves all year.
However, if they want to win and still believe they have a shot, despite the improbable odds, pulling off a trade or two is necessary.
The Raiders are a team to watch as a buyer as November 1st approaches.