NFL training camps are starting and with that, holdout season is also upon us. Rumors of big named stars holding out are already aplenty and some holdouts have already begun. Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott is looking like he’s going to sit things out for a while and Chargers’ Melvin Gordon has already begun his holdout. Neither of those two guys are on a franchise tag, they are just unhappy playing under a rookie contract. Houston Texans DE Jadeveon Clowney will very likely join the fray of holdouts. In Clowney’s case, he’s currently under the franchise tag because he and the team couldn’t come to a deal in the offseason. It’s a messy situation that could very well end with him being traded away.
Should the Raiders Target a Trade for Jadeveon Clowney?
This question is tough because even with some rookie additions, the Raiders definitely need pass-rush help. When the Raiders decided to not pay Khalil Mack, there’s no way they could’ve foreseen how sorely he’d be missed. The team only sacked the quarterback 13 times during 2018. Clowney isn’t a huge sack artist like his teammate J.J. Watt, but he’s shown a consistent ability to get to the quarterback. His production would be very welcome in Oakland and he could help put the exclamation point on a defense that already looks greatly improved on paper.
The problem is, Clowney is going to want some big money. The Raiders have already demonstrated an unwillingness to shell out massive money to a defensive player as evident by the Khalil Mack trade. While Clowney is great, Mack is on a whole other level. If Clowney wants Mack money, the Raiders should stay far away from him. Plus, there’s the assets factor. The Raiders do have the assets to convince the Texans to ship him to Oakland, however, having to trade away picks coupled with the contract they’ll have to give Clowney could mean Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock won’t be interested. The Raiders are still in the throes of a rebuild and they should see what they have in Arden Key and Clelin Ferrell before they invest heavily in a proven veteran.
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State of Raiders’ Defensive Line
Even though the Raiders defensive line was pathetic in 2018, there are reasons to be excited about the 2019 outlook. Maurice Hurst and Arden Key should improve in their second years. Add in some talented rookies like Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby and the Raiders should have a much better shot at getting to the quarterback on a more consistent basis. Also, don’t forget about P.J. Hall, who should also get a chance to prove himself in his second season. The Raiders defensive line is littered with young talent. In all likelihood, there will be some growing pains at points in 2019. However, the Raiders should exercise some patience and roll with the young guys. Adding a talent like Clowney is certainly appealing, but he won’t be worth what the Raiders will have to give up for him.