Trades in the NFL are far less common than they are in many other professional sports, but if a team is able to acquire an established veteran player they covet for a reasonable price, it can be extremely valuable.
While the Raiders’ front office will value their draft selections highly, any opportunity to fill a need by trade in exchange for a mid- to late-round selection should still be considered.
Should this be another draft where the Raiders trade down in the first round to add more picks, the chances for such trades could become that much more likely.
Here are five realistic trade scenarios for the Raiders to pursue this offseason.
Should the team eventually decide to go in another direction long term, they would likely see what they can get in return for Locker and his expiring contract, and the Raiders would have to be among the most interested teams.
Locker has flashed plenty of raw talent in his young career, undoubtedly possessing the ability to beat defenses with both his arm and his legs.
However, it is his lack of consistency in doing so that has been his downfall thus far, and it's likely what currently has the Titans unsure about his future.
Still just 25 years old, there is plenty of time for him to put it all together. He would be well worth a mid-round pick for the Raiders, and especially so if their intention would be to select a quarterback around that point in the draft anyway.
With the free-agent market so thin at the quarterback position and there being no guarantee that one they are comfortable with will be on the board for them in the first round, pursuing a trade for a young and talented Locker may be the best-case scenario for the Raiders this offseason.
Another option for the Raiders on the quarterback trade market will be current Redskins backup Kirk Cousins.
The case of Cousins is slightly more difficult to evaluate than that of a player like Jake Locker, as his playing time in Washington has been limited behind Robert Griffin III as the starter.
Even so, Cousins’ talent coming out of college warranted the Redskins taking him in the fourth round, and doing so despite having selected their franchise quarterback early on in the first.
Like the scenario for Locker, a mid-round pick seems like a good point to start the value in potential trade talks, but Cousins’ two years of experience in the NFL—regardless of on-field production—could very well add to that.
Should the Raiders turn to the trade market for a potential starting quarterback, Cousins will definitely become one of their top options, and it is possible for them to work out a trade without having to give up too much either.
The Raiders need to address the pass rush this offseason, and there will be a number of avenues for them to do so through both free agency and the draft.
However, should a trade opportunity for an established player present itself, the glaring need on the defensive line would have to have them interested as well.
One such player who could be available for trade is St. Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long.
In his six NFL seasons, Long has totaled 50.5 sacks and has gotten more and more productive as he gained experience at the pro level.
In July 2012, the Rams and Long came to an agreement on a four-year contract extension that would pay him over $12 million annually, cementing him as a building block for their rebuilding franchise.
Although that contract is still relatively new, the high price—as well as the Rams’ abundance of young talent on defense—might make Long available this offseason.
If so, and if the price is right on their end, this is a trade that could make a lot of sense for a team like the Raiders with plenty of money to spend.
As general manager Reggie McKenzie has already said this offseason, the Raiders are in need of a No. 1 target at the wide receiver position moving forward.
At 32 years old, White is not the youngest receiving option set to be available, but the ability and consistency he brings to the position is something the Raiders have not had in quite some time.
White has missed just three games in his nine-year career, and prior to his struggles with injury in 2013, he put up six straight seasons of at least 1,100 receiving yards. Assuming he stays healthy, there is plenty of reason to believe he can be a team’s No. 1 receiver for at least the next several years.
Again, if a mid-round selection would be the asking price for an established veteran at a position of need like White would be for the Raiders, it becomes a realistic deal for the team to pursue.
With the Raiders looking to rebuild, a trade they will be most likely to pursue would be one that sees them moving down within the first round of the NFL draft.
Of course, completing a trade is much easier said than done, but Reggie McKenzie was successful in doing so last year, and it is a move that makes sense for a team with so many needs to fill.
At fifth overall, the Raiders are in a spot where at least one of the draft’s top quarterbacks should be available, and there could be several teams further down the board looking to move up and get one.
If the Raiders are not comfortable with the available quarterbacks when they are on the clock, the prospect of moving down and possibly adding multiple mid-round picks in the process becomes the ideal scenario.
As much as those additional picks would likely be used on what is certain to be a deep rookie class, the Raiders would also have the flexibility to acquire one of the aforementioned veteran players in exchange as well.
Overall, to avoid reaching for a player to fill a need in the first round, the Raiders would find significantly more value in trading down and stockpiling as many picks as possible in this year’s draft.