Every year, from the time the season ends until the trade deadline in week six, there are rumors about the Oakland Raiders. Whenever a player is mentioned in a rumor, the Raiders are listed as one of the possible landing spots.
Raiders owner Al Davis has often fed the media monster by making blockbuster trades like the one made just prior to the 2009 season when the Raiders acquired Richard Seymour from the New England Patriots for a first round draft pick.
The rumors about the Raiders began again on Sunday when reports came out that the Raiders had notified all of the teams in the league that every member of the roster was available for a trade if the offer was right. If this is true, it is hard to believe that no one made an offer, which means that Al Davis and the Raiders declined on any offers that were made.
There are two separate reasons why the Raiders would have made a move before the deadline. The Raiders would either be making a move to make the team better now in order to compete this season, or they would admit defeat and revert to rebuilding mode.
Make the Team Better Now
If Al Davis believed that this team was capable of winning this season, he likely would have made a move. There are two places where the Raiders are in obvious need of improvement, offensive line and wide receiver.
Already without a first round pick for 2011, the Raiders would likely have had to couple players with picks in order to get an offensive lineman or wide receiver.
With the trades of Deion Branch and Randy Moss (likely not wanted in Oakland anyway), and Vincent Jackson not available to the Raiders, the wide receiver market is pretty thin. There was, however, an offensive lineman that was within reach.
The Patriots have been one of the best teams in the NFL despite not having starting guard Logan Mankins. Coach Bill Belichick is a no nonsense coach who is perfectly happy to trade disgruntled players like Randy Moss as well as players who have contributed greatly and simply wanted to get paid like Richard Seymour.
Mankins was the subject of many rumors, surprisingly none associated with the Raiders. Al Davis has done a lot of trading with the Patriots in recent times and if he wanted Mankins, he could have gotten him. The Patriots are in need of young talent to supplement their aging defense. Players like Michael Huff and Thomas Howard combined with picks likely could have landed Mankins.
Either the Patriots were asking far too much for Mankins, or Davis does not think this team is one player away from competing for the playoffs.
If Al Davis believed the season was a complete failure, he could have scrapped the season and acquired draft picks in order to make the team better next year and beyond.
Since the Raiders are not exactly made of all stars, this would have meant trading pro bowl corner back Nnamdi Asomugha.
The Raiders have an option for Asomugha for next season, which if they choose to exercise would mean paying Asomugha the average of the five highest paid quarterbacks, not cornerbacks, quarterbacks in the league, or $16.875 million, whichever is higher.
If Davis believed that this team was still years away from competing, trading Asomugha would be the wise decision. He will be extremely expensive next season and would command multiple high draft picks in return.
In all likelihood, Al Davis does not know what to think about the Raiders, much like most Raider fans.
The Raiders were coming off one of their best off-seasons in recent history. They conducted a very smart draft and pulled off a trade that many thought was the biggest move of the off-season by getting Jason Campbell for a fourth round pick. Lets also not forget the addition by subtraction when they finally admitted defeat and cut first round leach JaMarcus Russell.
Many believed that the Raiders were ready to turn the corner and compete for the AFC West this season. Instead, they have suffered from the same problems that have plagued them for years. The offense still can't put points on the board, the defense gives up too many big plays and the team as a whole commits too many penalties.
It appears as though Davis has decided to let the story on the 2010 Raiders play out and re-evaluate during the off season, which means that Raiders fans are stuck with a team that is mired in mediocrity.