As free agency looms, a flurry of NFL transactions are set to occur. The Las Vegas Raiders front office must exhaust all avenues to improve the team and the trade market always presents itself with good opportunity. Needing reinforcements on the defensive side of the ball, there are two trade candidates the team should be wise to consider.
The Forgotten Act
The offseason is entering high gear between free agency and the draft and rosters will be taking shape over the next 60 days. At this time last year, the Raiders completed a trade for a marquee wide receiver. Ultimately, it did not work out, but this is the time when that kind of transactions will transpire. With holes on the roster and top tier defensive free agents at a premium, the team may have to navigate the trade market to address the needs of the team. From a defensive standpoint the market is slim, but there are two defenders that would have immediate impact on the Las Vegas defense if acquired.
Desmond Trufant – Atlanta Falcons
Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant proved to be a difference maker in 2019 as he recorded four interceptions in the nine games he started.
Desmond Trufant snatched that
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) September 16, 2019
Atlanta is looking to rebuild their defense and they could be inclined to part ways with a soon-to-be 29 year old player that will be earning base salaries of $10.75 million, $11.75 million and $12.75 million over the next three seasons.
For the Raiders, he makes for an intriguing trade option that bears no guaranteed money owed for the remainder of his contract. The University of Washington product has been a staple of consistent play as he has averaged a Pro Football Focus coverage rating of 72.84 throughout his 7 year career. For the Silver and Black, he offers stability and a salary cap friendly contract should the team’s free agency plans not fall into place.
Darius Slay – Detroit Lions
The second and more intriguing option on this list is cornerback Darius Slay, who has verbally expressed his displeasure of not receiving a new contract with the Lions.
Does Darius Slay need a new contract to play next season and are the Lions closer to contending then they were? pic.twitter.com/gcYDdafV2c
— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) December 18, 2019
From an outsider’s perspective looking in, there is nothing stopping Slay from another holdout ahead of the 2020 season should he not receive a new deal. The Lions have a decision to make, to pay a 29-year old corner retail or trade him in hopes of fair compensation to address the many needs a 3-12-1 organization had in 2019? For the Las Vegas Raiders, the doorway to obtaining a top tier defender is open.
Big Play Slay
Considering that Detroit was one of the worst pass rushing teams in 2019, Slay held his own in a heavy man to man coverage scheme. He was targeted 93 times in coverage and allowed 52 completions in 14 games. In addition, opposing quarterbacks were only able to garner three touchdown passes when throwing his way, an astounding number. When the team needed him most, ‘Big Play Slay’ came through.
😱Darius Slay with the GAME-SEALING interception vs Phillip Rivers and the Chargers.#LACvsDET
— Sports Plug Betting (@SportsPlug_) September 15, 2019
His interception above sealed one of the Lions three victories in 2019. For the Silver and Black, his prowess would be a serious upgrade for a struggling secondary. For three straight seasons, the Raiders have been ranked last in the NFL in Expected Points Added at the outside cornerback position according to Pro Football Focus. What is Expected Points Added you may ask?
Expected Points Added (EPA) is a football statistic that seeks to measure the value of individual plays in terms of points. This is done by calculating the Expected Points (EP) of the down, distance, and field position situation at the start of a play and contrasting it with the situation at the end of the play. A three-yard gain on first-and-10 is pretty different than a three-yard gain on third-and-two, something not usually captured in conventional statistics. The Expected Points framework helps translate raw gains into value. – InsideThePylon.com
In simpler terms, Raider cornerbacks allow the most yardage and scoring plays in the NFL. Slay would instantly improve that statistic should the silver and black acquire him via trade.
The Trade Market Will Heat Up
Over the next two months, NFL trades will occur more frequently than any other time of the year outside the week leading up to the NFL trade deadline. For the Las Vegas Raiders, the team has their plan for free agency in tact. However, not everything always goes according to plan. As the team seeks to upgrade defensively in both free agency and the draft; the trade market has two viable cornerbacks that would assist the team. In terms of compensation, neither should command compensation of a first round draft pick. With that being said, the team should be heavily inquiring about Darius Slay and Desmond Trufant; the woes at cornerback simply cannot continue in Sin City.
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