The trade deadline is closing in and despite reports saying the Oakland Raiders are going to be active, they’ve stayed relatively quiet. Leonard Williams, a potential target for Oakland, has already been dealt. The team needs pass rush help and it doesn’t look like there are going to be many good options on the market. The Raiders will likely need to stay put with what they have on the defensive line. However, linebacker has been a huge need since Vontaze Burfict’s suspension and with the recent injury to Justin Phillips, they may not have a choice but to make a move.
“We’re struggling at linebacker right now with Vontaze Burfict’s suspension and Marquel Lee being on IR,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said at a Monday press conference. “We’re probably going to be looking to shore up the linebacker position over the 48 hours.”
Based on Sunday’s performance, they need to make improvements to the defense if they’re going to be serious playoff contenders. Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow can’t take 100% of the snaps every week.
“We’re going to try to bring in another linebacker,” said Gruden. “We have Dakota Allen, who didn’t play yesterday, also on the roster. We’re thin. We have to add another one. Hopefully, Whitehead can be ready to play. He came out of it a little nicked up as well.”
It sounds inevitable that the Raiders will add a linebacker in free agency or via trade.
Zach Brown Is Still a Free Agent & Potential Trade Targets
Justin Phillips wasn’t exactly a big name at linebacker and neither are the other Raiders linebackers. It’s going to be difficult to find a team willing to trade a talented one for cheap. Zach Brown is a former pro-bowler who is still available as a free agent. He’s on the downside of his career, but he’s better than what Oakland currently has. He’d be cheap and the team doesn’t need to keep him past this year.
If the Raiders aren’t sold on Brown, they could look to make a trade. Preston Brown with the Cincinnati Bengals could be an option. Despite being one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Bengals haven’t started to sell off their top assets yet. Maybe the Raiders could convince them that they’d be better off with a draft pick than with a linebacker in this lost season.
This is more of a pipe dream, but LaVonte David sure would good in silver and black. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t going to be good anytime soon and David is going to be 30 soon. He’s one of the best linebackers in the NFL and would help solve one of the Raiders’ biggest weaknesses for the next several years.
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Rodney Hudson Injury Update
Early in Sunday’s game, the Raiders lost on of their best players and leaders in Rodney Hudson due to a leg injury. He had to be carted to the locker room and it didn’t look good. Fortunately, Jon Gruden offered an update and said that his x-rays came back negative. That’s a good start, but it’s not the whole story. Further tests have to be done to make sure there isn’t other significant damage. He’s one of the toughest players on the roster and hasn’t missed a game since 2015. If he’s forced to miss games, that means the injury is probably really bad.