The Oakland Raiders are in the middle of something we've never seen in the NFL. They brought back a former head coach who'd been out of the game for a decade and gave him a 10-year, $100 million deal as the team leaves Oakland for Las Vegas. Jon Gruden is running this football team and this franchise, if that wasn't obvious.
The on-field results early in 2018 aren't great, but Gruden might not care, because his singular goal seems to be reshaping the franchise in his image. And that image, as Jason La Canfora noted on Wednesday's Pick Six Podcast (our daily NFL podcast, you should subscribe to it right here and also via Stitcher | via TuneIn | via Google Play) does not involve players drafted by Reggie McKenzie.
"If there's value for Amari Cooper, he'll do it. He's not going to give him away. He'll give away Karl Joseph. He'll give away Gareon Conley if anyone's willing to take that salary off his hands," La Canfora said. "I think he'll give away Derrick Johnson if anyone wants him [Ed. Note: Johnson was cut by the Raiders shortly after the podcast]. I think the Jordy Nelson contract's probably untradeable. If someone wants Marshawn Lynch, why not? If Donald Penn was healthy, he'd be gone. I think if Obi Melifonwu was healthy and not on IR, he'd be gone. If Reggie picked you, you're gone."
"I think the big final play ... sort of how you look at their teardown. There were these incremental moves, and it finally ended at the draft when they move up to get Josh Allen. The final one will be Derek Carr and I don't think it will be close to the draft, I think it will be at the combine," La Canfora continued. "And ultimately what's the point of keeping Derek Carr? And if you have all this draft capital and you get a one plus something else for Derek Carr, which I think he can -- I'll call it right now, Derek Carr to the New York Giants. At the combine."
The logic here is the Raiders are trying to reboot everything and want a cheap, young quarterback. The Giants are trying NOT to reboot, but put themselves in a position where they only have an aging, washed-up Eli Manning under center. They need a veteran upgrade and Carr might be the answer to pair with Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham and a host of offensive weapons.
"That makes all the sense in the world to me. The Giants don't really want to rebuild. And they don't really want to admit they screwed up by not taking a quarterback, right?" La Canfora said. "So they trade what will be a fairly high [first-round pick] or maybe they do it for a future [first-round pick] if this one looks like it's going to be top two or three. I think that's what they do and they plug him right in there with Barkley, Odell and Shephard and [Evan Engram] and they try to keep that thing going."
It sounds pretty wild, but when you think about the motivations for both of the teams, it's not that out of control. The Giants wouldn't give up their 2019 first-round pick (it should be high) but might be willing to part with their 2020 first-round pick, believing they can win next year and not face a high pick if they land Carr.
Gruden is willing to take any kinds of picks as he preps for an Oakland move. Which is why no one on this roster is safe, not even the franchise quarterback with a massive contract.
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