The Raiders open the regular season on Sunday against the Broncos. And fans have plenty of questions.
A sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag:
Matt Berger (@matt_berger): Which player do you expect to take the biggest step forward this season?
VINCENT BONSIGNORE: Three stand out, and they are all heading into their third seasons.
Based on training camp usage, Nate Hobbs appears to have moved back to the slot cornerback position he manned and excelled at as a rookie. A position change last year, coupled with a broken hand, set him back. But he looks like he’s ready to re-emerge. Similarly, linebacker Divine Deablo and safety Tre’von Moehrig both dealt with injuries and the transition to the new defense under Patrick Graham. Now healthy and with a better understanding of their roles, both seem perched to take positive steps.
Dave (@D_Mac143): What are the chances the Raiders release Chandler Jones? Is there anything they can get for him? Is the contract number too much for other teams to handle on top of his current “situation”?
VB: Everything remains on the table with Jones. In terms of his trade value, it’s hard to calculate what that is, exactly, without really knowing what he’s dealing with. For argument’s sake, if he comes through all this and returns to form and the Raiders decide to trade him, the trading partner would assume only the remainder of his $1.6 million base salary. In fact, that is all that is left in terms of his guaranteed money. So trading for him would not be prohibitive at all.
Michael Farneti (@MichaelFarneti): Do you believe there is interest around the league if the Raiders decide to explore their options to Chandler Jones? If so, what would you expect is fair compensation?
VB: It all depends on how Jones emerges from his personal matter. If all that checked out, he could be an attractive option as the financial implications for the trading team are minimal.
OGL1zard (@ogl1zard): Of the newest additions to the roster, which offensive and defensive player will have the biggest impact and why?
VB: Offensively, wide receiver Jakobi Meyers has been a smooth operator throughout camp. It just feels like there is a real fit for him in this offense and with Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback. Defensively, linebacker Robert Spillane looks like an old-school throwback middle linebacker with a modern level of athletic ability. In terms of physicality and mindset, he could have a big impact.
Dan (@NY_Raider): If the Raiders fail to generate pressure and/or turnovers on defense, should the panic button be hit in Week 1?
VB: Maybe not the panic button. But certainly cause for concern.
Zack Bitschenauer (@bitschenauer14): What rookie do you think has the biggest impact on Sunday?
VB: Cornerback Jakorian Bennett.