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3 trades Raiders should consider before today’s deadline

Updated October 31, 2023 - 9:38 am

With the trade deadline looming at 1 p.m. Tuesday, it’s time for the Raiders to get serious about their identity.

They hoped to be a team that could plug in new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and tap into his understanding of coach Josh McDaniels’ offense and compete for a playoff spot.

But Garoppolo has struggled to relearn McDaniels’ scheme, has missed two full games with injuries and has been uncharacteristically sloppy with the ball.

His play — and that of his two backups — has resulted in a 3-5 start and driven home the issue facing the Raiders for the past three decades: They lack a championship-caliber quarterback.

Is there time for the Raiders to reach their eight- or nine-win ceiling? Absolutely. But you have to wonder how likely that is and how practical it would be for their future.

Their focus would be better spent finding a franchise quarterback. Part of this means to stop trying to thread needles. One is the challenge to win right now, and the other is rebuilding the roster.

Both endeavors are formidable as stand-alone objectives. Trying to do both simultaneously is one of the most complex undertakings in sports. They must focus primarily on accumulating enough assets to help facilitate a rebuild.

As one NFL executive suggested, the Raiders should start selling off tradeable players to position themselves to acquire a quarterback. As the executive said, “Blow it all up and not tank, but not win.”

Doing so requires the Raiders to make some hard decisions. But with one of the best quarterback classes in years headed for the 2024 draft, they have to consider all possibilities and be aggressive to put themselves in position to get one.

Here are three suggestions:

1. Listen to trade offers for Davante Adams

Adams has not requested a trade, and league sources indicate the Raiders have not shown any inclination to make him available.

But they should.

As one league executive said, Adams could bring back a first-round draft pick as compensation. Depending on where the Raiders finish regarding draft positioning, that extra pick could help facilitate a trade to acquire a top quarterback.

Two league executives mentioned the Bills, who might be one piece from being the best team in the AFC, as a potential trade partner. Adams undoubtedly would make that kind of impact in Buffalo, and trading for him would mean fitting his prorated 2023 salary of about $3.5 million into the acquiring team’s cap.

The Bills have the cap space, as do the 49ers, Cowboys, Browns and Bengals. Each team is a playoff contender that could be motivated to add a player of Adams’ stature.

The Raiders would incur a $7.85 million cap hit this season and a $23.55 million hit next year, but for a rebuilding team, that is more a nuisance than debilitating.

Would Adams be open to a move? At age 32, his championship window is beginning to close. It might not be a hard sell getting him to buy into a move to Buffalo.

2. Trade Hunter Renfrow

The Raiders and Renfrow are at such a crossroads that a trade seems inevitable. The Raiders have been open to dealing him since last season, but the issue has been his contract. That means the prorated amount left on his $6.5 million salary this season.

As one league executive said, “Not many teams have $4 million or so lying around to give to a third or fourth receiver right now.”

The Raiders might have to relent on the asking price, but even a third-day pick would be a gain for a player no longer a part of the game plans.

3. Call teams about Garoppolo

A league executive mentioned the Jets and Falcons as potential landing spots for Garoppolo should the Raiders explore a trade.

The Jets are hanging around the AFC playoff race because of a defense giving up the fourth-fewest yards and points per game and despite an offense averaging the third-fewest points.

Zach Wilson is the league’s 29th-ranked quarterback. Even as the 20th-ranked quarterback, Garoppolo would be an upgrade. He also would be going to a Jets offense under Nathaniel Hackett that has similarities to the offense he played in with the 49ers under Kyle Shanahan.

Garoppolo then would be insurance for the Jets next season if Aaron Rodgers isn’t fully healed from his Achilles injury.

Or, should Garoppolo play well the rest of this season, he could be a trade asset.

Garoppolo might not command much in a deal, but the Raiders need all the assets they can get for their rebuild. It also would allow them to get a closer look at rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow@VinnyBonsignore on X.

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