With the Oakland Raiders 2-4 start to the 2017 NFL regular season, a trade might not be realistic as the defense seems to lack talent on the field and from the coaching staff. So there might not be just one fix for this calendar year.
However, if there is one acquisition general Reggie McKenzie can make to help the secondary and to resurrect Oakland’s season, here it is.
The Cleveland Browns are still 0-6 and have shown interest in stockpiling draft selections. Browns cornerback Jason McCourty is having one of the best seasons of his NFL career, 92 Pro Football Focus player grade in 2017, but is 30 years old making it unlikely he is in Cleveland’s future plans.
As such, the Raiders could go after McCourty and have a sure-fire No. 1 starting caliber cornerback for the first time since Nnamdi Asomugha left for the Philadelphia Eagles. Since McCourty is in his thirties, he wouldn’t be a long-term fix but would immediately improve the defense.
To convince McKenzie, McCourty would be due less than $1 million for the remainder of the season and would only have a cap hit of $3.625 million in 2018, via Spotrac.
It is hard to predict how much the Browns would want in return for McCourty, but a third-round pick and an extra late-round pick would seem reasonable. Unfortunately, McKenzie would be hesitant to part ways with a high selection.
Honestly, a second-round pick might even be worth it considering McKenzie’s selections of Jihad Ward, Shilique Calhoun, Menelik Watson, Sio Moore and Obi Melifonwu, who has yet to play a game. Aside from 2014, McKenzie’s second and third round selections have been sub-par.
In the last five drafts, McKenzie has only taken a starter in the third round twice, guard Gabe Jackson and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (and he’s up for debate). There is no guarantee that a future third round pick or even second would do anything for the organization immediately or down the line. Therefore, parting ways with a future draft pick for the opportunity to get a guy who can be a great starter for the next few seasons seems like a no-brainer.
Oakland has a ton of talent in place now, especially on the offensive side. But at a certain point everyone is going to have to be paid. Defensive end Khalil Mack, wide receiver Amari Cooper, safety Karl Joseph and defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. will all be getting new contracts in the coming years. As such, the window for the Raiders won’t be open forever. It is time, maybe not now but at least this offseason, to go all in on improving this defense.
Calling the Browns and enquiring about a trade for McCourty could be that answer in the secondary to help move the Oakland defense in the right direction.