Which is more difficult, the Raiders finding a home for the 2019 season or the team remedying an anemic pass rush?
Honestly, picking one conundrum as easier than the other is a difficult task. But both challenges are ones the Raiders need to overcome — triumphantly so.
The latest debacle in the search for a temporary home before bouncing to Las Vegas isn’t an encouraging one. As quick as the news came the Raiders were playing at Oracle Park in San Francisco (the baseball Giants digs and formerly AT&T Park), reports of the deal being dead in the water surfaced just as swiftly.
There were too many moving parts in a fluid situation — the Giants, San Francisco 49ers and NFL all saying yes — and to no surprise, the deal went kaput.
So, what’s left is one more year in Oakland or heading to Santa Clara to play at — as one of my esteemed colleagues labels — Pants Field. The Raiders and the city despise each other and owner Mark Davis’ disdain for playing at Levi’s Stadium isn’t a secret. Stranger things have happened though and people underestimated the Bowl Cut Kid once before he got a new house in Las Vegas. Too bad it doesn’t open until 2020.
- Several draftniks and prognosticators predict the Raiders nabbing Michigan’s Rashan Gary at No. 4 in mock drafts to help alleviate the lack of pressure the team generates. This is a tricky one. Gary appears more freak athlete than footballer and is more of a classic Al Davis pick.
- There’s a lot of time between now and the draft in April for board’s, mock and predictions to change drastically. But one thing should remain constant, the Raiders top pick in the first round must be a defender. Whether the team trades down, stays at No. 4 or trades up, pick should be defense.
- Free agency comes before the draft and prepare yourself for players to be earmarked for Raiders. Namely defenders who played for Mike Zimmer, the coach Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther apprenticed for.
- Derek Carr’s $19.9 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. He’s the Raiders starting quarterback until further notice (or until Gruden decides there is a better option available). That means shoring up an offensive line that contributed to DC getting dropped 51 times.
- Preseason wunderkind Chris Warren III is reportedly up to 270 pounds and it’s allegedly not fat. A bulked up running back would add a much-needed power presence after the Raiders trotted out Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. Listed at 6-foot-2, 246 pounds last season, the added size is intriguing.