Any Given Monday: What’s in Store for the Raiders This Offseason?

Hayden Nadolny
Raiders offseason Kyler Murray draft

Before our Senior NFL Writer and Columnist heads out on his month-long vacation, he gives you some predictions for this NFL and Raiders offseason. Nadolny will return to this space towards the end of February.

Here are my offseason predictions between now and the NFL Combine in early March:

Antonio Brown Will Be Traded

It’s apparent Steelers wideout Antonio Brown is going to be traded. The only question is to whom? Brown is an electrifying talent, though he has had some character clashes with other members of the Steelers organization. I believe that Brown’s off-field issues are more reflective of the Steelers than Brown, especially given that there are have been issues simmering with that team for a long time, and winning has papered over the cracks. Brown may be 31 years old at the start of next season, and the Raiders are in a supposed rebuild, but he would be the perfect receiver for Jon Gruden’s offense. There is not a better receiver in football, and his style of play will allow him to play deep into his 30s. Gruden has had success with aging veteran receivers in the past such as Tim Brown and Jerry Rice, so Brown’s age should not be a deterrent to pulling the trigger on a trade. If the Raiders are able to trade a second-round pick for Brown, I wouldn’t hesitate.

antonio brown steelers raiders trade

Where will Brown end up in 2019? Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Buckner is Interesting Pick for D-Line Coach

Brentson Buckner is an interesting choice to coach the defensive line in 2019. It’s unsure at this time whether he is coaching as an assistant under Mike Trgovac, or whether Trgovac has been relieved of his duties with Buckner taking over. Buckner spent 2018 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their defensive line coach. He took the Bucs from a league-worst 22 sacks in 2017 to a respectable 38 sacks in 2018. Raider Nation certainly hopes for a similar leap in production from their young D-Line in 2019 too.

New Raiders HQ is Significant Improvement

The Raiders broke ground last week on the new location of their headquarters in Henderson, NV. The renderings look absolutely amazing and it will finally give the Raiders a workplace that is up to scratch with the rest of the league. The current rabbit warren in Alameda is out-dated, and though Mark Davis has invested approximately $40 million into the facility (at the insistence of former head coach Jack Del Rio), it did not come close to what other organizations offer around the league. It won’t necessarily be a point of difference to entice free agents to come and play for the Raiders, but the current stadium in Oakland and headquarters in Alameda have been off-putting for some players, which of course leads to management having to overpay players to keep them with the team.

Signs Point to Carr, Ellis, Whitehead Return

Derek Carr, Justin Ellis and Tahir Whitehead were all representing the Raiders at the groundbreaking in Henderson. I don’t like to take too much from such events, but I would be surprised if any of these three weren’t on the team in 2019.

Raiders Will Keep All Three First Round Picks in 2019

The Raiders first-round draft picks are currently slated at No. 4, No. 24 and No. 27. This gives them plenty of flexibility especially late on in round one. We often see teams with picks in the 20s trade down to acquire an extra day two pick. That being said, given the lack of talent currently on the Raiders roster, it may be best at this point just to stick to these draft slots and take the best player available.

AJ Smith radio raiders

Could former Chargers GM AJ Smith be joining the Raiders?

AJ Smith Hire a Good Move

According to John Middlekauff of The Athletic, former Chargers GM A.J. Smith is a candidate for a high-level executive role with the Raiders to assist GM Mike Mayock in the day-to-day machinations of the football operations department. Middlekauff adds that Smith’s hire would be in substitute of Ryan Grigson, who now doesn’t appear to be joining the silver and black. Should Smith join the Raiders, it would be a home run hire for Jon Gruden and Mayock. Smith had lots of success assembling the Chargers, particularly through the draft. Some of Smith’s biggest successes in the draft was the trade of Eli Manning to the New York Giants for Phillip Rivers, and picks that later went on to becoming Nate Kaeding and Shawne Merriman, along with drafting S Eric Weddle, WR Vincent Jackson and RBs Michael Turner and Darren Sproles. Not to mention the signing of undrafted rookie free agent (and future PFHOFer) Antonio Gates.

This Team Doesn’t Need Kyler Murray

The Raiders are the bookmaker’s favorite to land Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray in the NFL Draft. I think it’s bizarre. Murray is in all likelihood going to be a first-round pick and given the number of holes the Raiders have, they do not have the luxury to draft a first round pick on a quarterback who they would be holding a clipboard behind Derek Carr. The alternative is that they draft him and trade out Carr, but even then, this is a pipe dream of extreme proportions.

A Quote to Remember

“I’ve talked to some guys. I wish I could tell you who … Contrary to popular belief, people want to come to play for the Raiders. Coach Gruden was right about that.”

Derek Carr on speaking with upcoming free agents, squashing popular opinion that no one currently wants to play for the Raiders.

A Tweet of Amusement

Three Predictions:

1. The Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowl LIII

2. Rams RB Todd Gurley II is named Super Bowl LIII MVP

3. The half time entertainment of Maroon 5 with guests will be underwhelming. Seriously, if the NFL wants to have a pop artist or group be the headline show, just get Bruno Mars to do it every year.