Las Vegas Raiders; Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Dave Ziegler

Could Raiders GM Dave Ziegler Trade Davante Adams or Josh Jacobs?

The Las Vegas Raiders have lost three straight games after opening the 2023 campaign with a victory in Denver. From self-inflicted errors to untimely injuries, the Silver and Black regularly find themselves behind the eight ball on Sundays. Stars like Davante Adams and Josh Jacobs are (rightfully) tired of dealing with it. Now, Dave Ziegler has a decision to make.

Will GM Dave Ziegler Pull The Plug On Davante Adams Or Josh Jacobs?

Josh McDaniels deserves the criticism sent his way. When a team is as undisciplined as the Raiders, the blame should fall at the head coach’s feet. Even worse than the penalties, McDaniels has made some boneheaded play calls, including multiple disastrous red zone trips on the year.

So, with Vegas sitting at 1-3 and frustrations seemingly at a boiling point, would general manager Dave Ziegler consider selling off his star players on the trade market?

The Dilemma With Trading Davante Adams

The Raider who would receive the biggest trade offer — aside from Maxx Crosby — is the perennial All-Pro wideout Davante Adams. The franchise traded away a first and second-round pick for Adams two off-seasons ago, but with his college buddy Derek Carr no longer on the roster, things have undoubtedly changed in Sin City.

To Adams’ credit, he has remained professional in the face of trade rumors. Speculation began as soon as Carr was released from the Silver and Black. While trading Adams could make sense for a rebuilding squad, two roadblocks stand in the way.

First and foremost, it would be a bad look for Ziegler and Co. to give up on the 2023 campaign, especially if the front office is feeling any heat from owner Mark Davis. Adams proved vs. the Chargers that he can succeed with anyone at quarterback, even a fourth-round rookie like Aidan O’Connell.

Adams’ contract also presents a major issue for the team acquiring the star pass catcher and for the Raiders. He is due for a hefty dead cap hit next season, and with Vegas already biting the bullet by releasing Chandler Jones, it might be too much for Ziegler to stomach.

Davante Adams would fetch at least a first-round pick from a contender — and likely even more than that. At 30 years old, he is still at the peak of his powers, but don’t expect a move to happen, at least not before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. Perhaps it becomes more likely in the offseason, but Adams is a Raider for the remainder of the season. Book it.

Has Josh Jacobs’ Value Plummeted Too Much For Raiders To Trade Him?

Josh Jacobs, on the other hand, is on an expiring deal. That makes the Raiders infinitely more likely to move on from the 2022 rushing champion if they receive a suitable offer before Oct. 31. That being said, Jacobs’ performance through four games might have tanked his trade value so much that Ziegler won’t consider moving him for pennies on the dollar.

So far, Jacobs is averaging 2.7 yards per carry. Sure, the offensive line is not helping him out, but context isn’t always a part of trade talks in the NFL. Teams will see his inefficiency and be less willing to offer a fair market deal. But this is the bed the Raiders made; now they must lie in it or set it ablaze.

After such hoopla over the offseason surrounding Jacobs and Vegas’ unwillingness to trade or pay him, the organization is now backed into a corner. If a general manager calls Ziegler with a worthwhile offer, it would be hard for the Raiders to turn that down. But would a third or fourth-round selection be enough?

My guess is no. But there is a chance that the front office’s expectations have adjusted. Maybe it now views this as more of a rebuilding process than initially planned. If so, trading Jacobs and recouping any value for him is a better move in the long run, even if it would sting.

If the Raiders keep Jacobs around all season, and he eventually walks in free agency, Vegas will likely receive a compensation pick in return. But that pick will be determined by the value of Jacobs’ next contract. It could be anything from a third-rounder to a seventh-rounder to nothing at all.

Final Prediction: Vegas Keeps Both

Josh Jacobs, because of his contract, is the more likely trade option. Davante Adams is too important for the offense, and his dead cap makes a worthy trade nearly impossible midseason. The issues for the Raiders go deeper than skill positions. The offensive line is a mess, and coaching on both sides leaves much to be desired.

It’s hard to see a path toward Jacobs being a 100-yard-per-game running back in Vegas in 2023. But if a team like the Ravens or Rams sees Jacobs as the final piece of a potential championship puzzle? That possibility could net the Raiders a nice draft pick in return.

The ball is in Dave Ziegler’s court. He holds all the cards. That, my friends, is a scary proposition.

*Top Photo: Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal

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