Based on the recent rumors that the Las Vegas Raiders are interested in free-agent pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, it’s clear the team wants to beef up the defensive line. Those rumors have gone cold but perhaps the Raiders could revisit another player they had an interest in back during the draft. Yannick Ngakoue of the Jacksonville Jaguars didn’t show up to training camp as he’s still holding out to get traded which have caused trade rumors to heat back up.
The Raiders were reportedly interested in April but didn’t end up pulling the trigger. The Jaguars are starting to earn a reputation as being very stern until they get an offer they can’t refuse. While they obviously would like to keep Ngakoue, it might get to the point where they just have to move on. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report suggested the Raiders give Jacksonville wide receiver Tyrell Williams and a fifth-round pick for Ngakoue:
Instead of offering a high draft pick for the former Maryland star, though, the Raiders could offer a Day 3 pick and deep-threat receiver Tyrell Williams in a package deal. Williams could immediately help add a new element in Jacksonville, and he may be sliding down the depth chart in Las Vegas.
The Raiders drafted Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards this past April. Between those two, second-year man Hunter Renfrow and free-agent addition Nelson Agholor, they could view Williams as expendable.
If the Raiders could leverage Williams to acquire a pass-rusher like Ngakoue, that would be one huge win. Parting with his $11.5 million-per-year salary would be another.
Are the Raiders Already Willing to Move on From Williams?
The trade proposed by Knox hinges on the idea that the Raiders are already considering moving on from Williams. Everybody must have short memories as the team was incredibly high on the wide receiver heading into last season. The Raiders gave him a fat contract and didn’t seem to have a problem with him being the number one receiver to start the season.
Williams did play well at first. He scored a touchdown in each of his first five games with the team. Unfortunately, he hurt his feet early in the season and never fully recovered. The Raiders are excited about Ruggs and Edwards, but Williams is no slouch. If he’s healthy, he could easily have a big season.
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Ngakoue or Clowney?
Now, Williams is good but Ngakoue would bring the consistent amount of pass rush the Raiders have been missing since they traded Khalil Mack. The issue with trying to acquire him is that not only do you have to give up something to get him, you also have to give the contract he’s looking for. He’s a really solid player but he’s probably not worth over the $20 million a season a desperate team might give him if he reaches free agency.
At this point, if the Raiders are really set on adding a pass rusher, Clowney would probably be a better bet. His price has sunk significantly since he’s let free agency ride out for so long. It wouldn’t take a trade to acquire him and the Raiders probably wouldn’t have to commit to him long term.