Raiders Trading Expected Starting CB to Cardinals for Draft Pick

josh mcdaniels

Getty Josh McDaniels sitting with Mark Davis.

Early on, it has been clear that head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler don’t care about moves that Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden made prior to their arrival. The Las Vegas Raiders cut 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood after just one season with the team. They also cut running back Kenyan Drake despite having guarantees left on his contract.

The purging of Gruden and Mayock guys didn’t stop there. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Raiders are trading cornerback Trayvon Mullen to the Arizona Cardinals.

Mullen was injured for much of last season and missed most of training camp but he was expected to be a start at some point. McDaniels and company must have never thought much of him as they are only getting a conditional seventh-round pick that could go up to a sixth-rounder based on his playing time, per Rapoport.

That’s not a great return for a starting caliber cornerback who was a second-round pick in 2019. What’s also notable was that Rapoport said the plan was just to release him if they couldn’t find a trade partner.

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Mullen Reacts to Trade

Mullen just recently returned to practice from injury but was clearly too far behind to earn favor with new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham. Unfortunately, he didn’t have any previous rapport built with the coaching staff. He doesn’t appear to be upset that he’s getting shipped to Arizona.

Mullen has talent. He’s got great size at 6-foot-2 and was a shutdown cornerback at Clemson. Injuries held him at times as a pro but he did show flashes. However, those flashes weren’t strong enough to convince the new Raiders coaching staff to keep him. The Cardinals have a solid squad so it’s a good landing spot for Mullen.

Raiders Making Questionable Decisions

Ziegler earned himself a lot of pull with the Raiders fan base after he pulled off a trade for Davante Adams. He also handed reasonable contract extensions to Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow and Derek Carr. However, some of his recent moves are confusing. The first was cutting running back Kenyan Drake. He was clearly not standing out as much as other running backs so that move was somewhat justifiable but it only saves the team $250,000 in cap space and they’ll have to pay him dead money.

The team also cut 2021 first-round pick Alex Leatherwood. They’re going to have to him $7.9 million in dead cap to not play. Why not just place him as a backup and see if they can salvage him? It doesn’t make much sense to cut a second-year player with that much money on the line. Trading Mullen is also odd. He’s shown flashes and was only a cap hit of $3.4 million this year. It’s still Ziegler’s first year as a general manager so he could be working out some kinks. That said, some of his recent decisions don’t look great on the surface. Perhaps there is more going on behind the scenes.

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