The NFL season may have just recently ended, but trade rumors are already coming in hot. There should be a couple of big names who become available and perhaps the most notable is Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay. Reports have circulated that the Lions are shopping the multi-time Pro Bowler and there figures to be a lot of suitors for his talents.
One team is to watch is the Las Vegas Raiders as they have plenty of tradable assets and a need at cornerback. Plus, a couple of Slay’s former teammates currently wear the silver and black. He’s very active on social media and had an interesting interaction with Raiders cornerback Nevin Lawson on Twitter.
Lawson tagged the Raiders in a post that showed that Slay has led the NFL in passes defended since 2014. Lawson spent five years playing with Slay, so it’s safe to say that they have a relationship. Though the Lions cornerback can’t control where he gets traded, his contract doesn’t last long and if he makes it known that he wants to play for the Raiders, that could hurt his trade value.
What Would the Raiders Need to Give up for Slay?
Based on what Minkah Fitzpatrick got the Miami Dolphins and what Jalen Ramsey got the Jacksonville Jaguars, it seems like the floor for trading for a Pro Bowl level cornerback would be a first-round pick. Fortunately for the Raiders, they’ve got two. However, before the team gives up either, there are a couple of factors that could lower Slay’s price. Unlike Fitzpatrick and Ramsey, Slay is not young. He’s 29 years old and cornerbacks don’t typically stay elite for very long compared to other positions. Also, he’s heading into a contract year and he’s not going to be cheap.
An interesting proposal would be for the Raiders to give the Lions a first and a third-round pick for Slay and a second-round pick. Las Vegas doesn’t currently have a pick in the second, so they’d add an elite cornerback and also diversify their draft picks. That wouldn’t be a bad return for the Raiders.
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It’s Dangerous to Pay Aging Cornerbacks Big Money
There’s one big concern the Raiders should have if they add Slay and that’s the contract he’s going to command in 2021. As we saw with Khalil Mack, Jon Gruden isn’t too keen on spending big on defensive players. It’s unlikely he changes his tune to make Slay the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL. He’s expecting to get over $16 million per year. That would be a huge investment by the Raiders.
There’s no doubt Slay would help fix a big problem the team has had, but teams investing big money in aging free agent cornerbacks has not always ended well. The Washington Redskins regretted it with Josh Norman and the New York Jets are still regretting it with Trumaine Johnson. Now, it could be argued that Slay is better than both those players, but the Raiders should still exercise caution before handing him a massive contract.