The Josh McDaniels era with the Las Vegas Raiders hasn’t gotten off to the fast start that many were expecting. The team is 1-4 and is in last place in the AFC West. The team made the playoffs last season so the expectation was that they’d only improve.
However, it was likely unfair to expect too much from McDaniels’ Raiders in the first year. He’s got a system and culture he’s trying to implement, which takes time. Based on how the offseason went, it’s clear that McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler were not impressed with the roster that Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock put together.
The Raiders declined fifth-year options for Johnathan Abram, Clelin Ferrell and Josh Jacobs. They also released 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Abram and Ferrell may not be with the team for much longer:
Speaking of Ziegler, it’s no secret he has worked to shed players from the Mike Mayock regime. A few players to watch are a pair of 2019 first-rounders, defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and safety Johnathan Abram. I’m told Vegas has had talks with teams on both players in recent months, with Abram’s name circulating a lot.
Last week against the Chiefs, Abram played 54 snaps compared to 69 apiece for safeties Duron Harmon and Tre’von Moehrig.
Fowler also spoke to an executive who says the Raiders are trying to tailor the roster to McDaniels and the new coaching staff.
“The Raiders are trying to start new with players who fit their personality,” an NFC executive told Fowler. “They’ve been pretty aggressive in that.”
What Could Raiders Get for Ferrell & Abram?
Ferrell and Abram get a bad rap but they haven’t been terrible players. They were just overdrafted. Had they both been second or third-round picks, nobody would have had a problem with them. However, there’s no way the Raiders would pick them in the first round if they could go back.
Abram is solid as a run defender and box safety but is a huge liability in coverage. Ferrell has shown flashes of being a very good run stuffer but only has 8.0 sacks in 47 games. If the Raiders hope to trade them, they aren’t likely to get a great return. Abram could possibly get the team a fifth-round pick but might not be able to get that much. It’s hard to imagine Ferrell doing any better. Neither is a great return for a former first-round pick.
Are Raiders Better off Just Keeping Ferrell & Abram?
Ferrell has played in 34% of the Raiders’ defensive snaps this season and has earned a respectable 67.6 Pro Football Focus grade. If the team was so desperate to get rid of him, they should’ve done it in the offseason. He’s proven to be a key rotational defensive end for the team this season. If the Raiders are only going to get a seventh-round pick for him, there’s no reason to trade him. Now, if a team makes a solid offer, then it would make sense to trade but the team shouldn’t just give him away.
Abram has started all five games for the Raiders thus far and has played 94% of the defensive snaps. The team doesn’t have great options at safety so they might just need to keep Abram.