You know, addition by subtraction seemed to be the prevailing thought in Alameda.
Pink slips for Javon Walker, Greg Ellis, Justin Fargas, and Gerard Warren signaled that Al Davis was tightening his belt—not trying to break the chains of a seven-year losing streak.
We’ll forget that. The Raiders have made a smart move by bringing the former Florida State pass-rusher to Oakland. And in my humble opinion, Davis isn’t done orchestrating the team's make over—not by a long shot.
Did Oakland want to add Antonio Bryant to the team’s young crop of receivers? You bet they did, but Cincinnati beat them to the punch.
The team also reached out to former Chiefs running back Larry Johnson—even though he’s clearly past his prime.
And the Redskins quickly signed the former 1,000-yard rusher, never allowing Johnson to even speak with Mr. Davis. (According to sources: Mike Shanahan was so happy, he went to the top of the Washington Monument and firmly pressed his thumb to his nose and wiggled his fingers with glee right in the general direction of Raiders headquarters and his old nemesis).
All kidding aside, Davis has been burned by free agency. So who could blame the Raiders boss for allowing somebody else to pick their poison in the free-agent market?
And that’s the downside of sifting through possible free-agent nuggets. Inevitably there's some fool’s gold mixed in. For every Drew Brees, there’s a Daunte Culpepper.
It's hard to blame the Raiders if they aren’t willing to play that game anymore. In fact, it could be the smartest move Davis ever made.
Bringing in Wimbley is just a piece to the Raiders defensive puzzle. Davis is building a dominant defense but he still needs a run-stuffer in the middle. Conventional wisdom says Wimbley will go back to playing his college position of defensive end.
Using his speed to attack the quarterback, Wimbley got to the quarterback 11 times in his rookie season, but recorded just 15 additional sacks over his next three seasons in a Browns uniform.
And he’s not considered a run-stopper either, which brings up the Raiders' next move.
The speculation about Davis trading up in next month’s NFL Draft to acquire Ndamukong Suh or Gerald McCoy is the type of splash this owner loves to make. It would be outrageous, expensive, and right in Davis’ wheelhouse.
The possibility of Suh holding up the Silver and Black under the hot lights of the prime time draft is intriguing. On the field, Suh would be double teamed and create gaps for Raider defenders to shoot, or he would just overpower the opposition and decide the issue himself. But a lot of dominoes would have to fall the right way for that idea to have legs.
First of all, are the Rams really sold on the idea of taking a quarterback with the top pick and is Sam Bradford's separated shoulder durable enough to last in the NFL?
Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo made it clear at the NFL combine that the team was looking for the right combination of youth and experience this offseason.
"I think you really have to have a little bit of that mixture," Spagnuolo said. "Now, in my opinion, you can't just go out plucking guys out of the sky. You almost have to know that person and how they study film. I think that is huge."
Spagnuolo signed a QB he knows in former Eagles quarterback A.J. Feely, who worked with Rams offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur in Philadelphia.
He then went after defensive lineman Fred Robbins, who was part of Spagnuolo’s Super Bowl winning defense in New York.
These are players who are proven veterans. Is Bradford going to be part of the Rams influx of youth?
Reading all of the pre-draft tea leaves, it sounds like the former Sooner QB is on the Rams' radar. But he’ll most likely be wearing a baseball cap and carrying a clipboard as he learns the position under Feely.
Bradford impressed scouts at the combine with his new physique—adding some 20 pounds of muscle. Perhaps this provided Spagnuolo with the belief that the former Heisman Trophy winner can withstand the punishment that's certain to come to a QB with a suspect offensive line like the Rams'.
At the very least, Spagnuolo seems to have a plan in place to groom their new pick, whoever it might be.
And that brings us back to the question of Oakland trading up to grab Suh or McCoy.
If the Rams take Bradford, will the Lions trade down?
The Lions are openly shopping the No. 2 overall pick. They want to see who the serious suitors are before they even consider leaving a prized defensive tackle on the table.
Would Coach Jim Schwartz be enticed to swap first-round picks with the Raiders for an additional pick?
Yes, and here’s why.
Teams in the top 10 of the draft are usually in the rebuilding process, so the more picks they can get, the better off they are. Teams don't have three or four years to rebuild anymore; it’s now or never in the National Football League.
Plus, the Lions have already filled a need at defensive tackle by trading for Browns interior lineman Corey Williams. The smart thing for Schwartz to do might be to trade down and draft Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain.
If Oakland is going to be wheeling and dealing for Suh on draft day, it will be with one of these teams. And now with Wimbley on board it seems more and more likely that Davis will make a move to get that run-stuffing tackle they've been lacking.
What’s the best course of action Raider Nation, trade up or stay put?
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