With the trade deadline here, the Las Vegas Raiders stayed surprisingly quiet. They haven’t been involved in any rumors and seem content to stay put with what they got. Considering the defense hasn’t played well, that was a bit of a surprise.
Carlos Dunlap was one name to keep an eye on before he got traded to the Seattle Seahawks. He had his best seasons under current Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and the team has been desperate for some pass rush help. According to The Athletic’s Vic Tafur, Dunlap wanted to reunite with his old coach but Las Vegas wasn’t interested.
All Dunlap cost the Seahawks a seventh-round pick and a backup offensive lineman. That’s certainly a deal the Raiders could’ve made. That said, it doesn’t sound like they were very interested in his contract. He has a $5 million cap hit this year and over $11 million next year.
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Should the Raiders Have Traded for Dunlap?
The Raiders may have only allowed six points to the Cleveland Browns in Week 8 but that doesn’t mean the defense is magically better. They were greatly helped by the Browns consistently shooting themselves in the feet on offense. The Raiders didn’t sack Baker Mayfield once.
With the terrible weather, the defensive line should’ve had a field day but Mayfield consistently had time to throw. Dunlap may be exiting his prime but he’s a guy who can get after the quarterback. The Raiders don’t have a single player who has proven to consistently bring some kind of pass rush. The defense got helped on the stat sheet in Week 8 but that doesn’t mean that they’re going to stop anybody when the weather is good. The Raiders should be a playoff team this year but their unwillingness to address the pass rush is perplexing. A guy like Dunlap would’ve been a perfect fit. He knows the defense, wouldn’t have cost that much in a trade, and would’ve at least created more pressure than the team is getting now.
Why Are the Raiders so Concerned With Cap Space?
As Tafur reported, the Raiders didn’t attempt to trade for Dunlap because of cap space. What good is unused cap space doing the team right now? There’s no reason not to try and spend that money on a playmaker.
The only thing that would make sense is if the Raiders are planning on making a different move. There aren’t a lot of big-ticket free agents available this time of year. They do have a need at safety so perhaps they’re contemplating using that money on Earl Thomas. However, that seems unlikely.
Now, it’s easy to be confused with the Raiders over their lack of moves but there are so many factors that the public isn’t aware of. Perhaps Guenther knew Dunlap wouldn’t be a great fit in the locker room and pushed the team not to make a deal. Regardless, the Raiders are a good team this year but they aren’t going to make it far in the playoffs if the defense can’t improve.