Should Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie target Browns CB Jason McCourty?

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.

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CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 08: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets attempts to move past Jason McCourty #30 of the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

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.

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May 30, 2017; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie wears a hoddie and sunglasses at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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.

[poll id=”7″]


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and The JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

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NBA trade machine: How to send Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving to Spurs

The turmoil in Cleveland involving Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and forward LeBron James has not stopped since the moment the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA Finals in five games.

James, according to Chris Sheridan, will be leaving Cleveland after this upcoming season.

For fans still holding out hope that James will come back to Ohio in 2018, it just is not realistic. Unless the team wins a championship this season, there is no hope James will re-sign. Even Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd is writing off a return.

With James assuredly on his way out, Cleveland can’t let James and Irving walk without getting something in return. As such, the Cavaliers should look to move Irving immediately, before it becomes a Paul George situation where they have to ship him off for worthless pieces.

Luckily, it is a little easier for the organization to move Irving as he would commit to signing an extension with the San Antonio Spurs, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Below is a plausible trade scenario that would send Irving to San Antonio.

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Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving and San Antonio Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge chase after a loose ball during first half action Monday March 27, 2017 at the AT&T Center. (Photo via Edward A. Ornelas /San Antonio Express-News)

Cleveland receives: LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, 2018 first round pick

San Antonio receives: Kyrie Irving

First and foremost, this trade would be accepted by the NBA’s rules thanks to ESPN’s NBA trade machine.

Moreover, the trade isn’t a win-win scenario since Cleveland is already in a losing situation. The team is bound to lose both of their superstars after the 2017-18 season. However, this deal would give the opportunity for Dan Gilbert to get something in return for Irving to help build for the future.

Currently, the Spurs are not the best option for Cleveland. They don’t have as many available assets as the Phoenix Suns or Boston Celtics, but it is the only place Irving would sign an extension.

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Photo via Jason Miller/Getty Images

Why the Kyrie Irving deal makes sense

Cleveland Cavaliers

This could be the only trade, except with the Celtics, that would send a sure-fire all-star, LaMarcus Aldridge, to Cleveland in return for Irving.

As a result, the Cavaliers would have a star to pair with James for 2017 and would remain atop the Eastern Conference. For their future, they will have the young and talented Dejounte Murray, a 20-year-old 6-foot-5 guard from Washington, and a first round selection in the 2018 NBA draft.

In all honesty, it isn’t a great move for the Cavaliers. They will be in a tough situation in the future, pending LeBron’s departure. Regardless, this is a deal that makes sense and makes them better off for a post-James era.

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Photo via Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

San Antonio Spurs

The Spurs are missing a superstar to combine with forward Kawhi Leonard. Without one, they will never have any realistic shot of beating the Warriors and will probably lose noticeable ground on the up and coming Minnesota Timberwolves and Houston Rockets, who have two superstars each.

If the aforementioned trade went through, the Spurs would have their second superstar in Kyrie Irving. Most importantly, they would have acquired him without giving up any valuable assets.

For example, Aldridge is a great player, but is not a great fit in San Antonio. The tension between him and the organization would likely make the Spurs jump at any reasonable opportunity to trade him away.

In this scenario, San Antonio could get rid of Aldridge while bringing in a better superstar in Irving. They would have to part ways with a first round pick, but losing a first round pick from where the Spurs are selecting will not hinder any future success.

As expected, San Antonio would come away as the major winner in this deal. The team getting the superstar usually is, just look at the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, they will be on the losing end in almost any deal. It is time for them to get the best losing deal.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

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What to do with Raiders CB Sean Smith

Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith has the fourth highest cap hit on the Raiders’ roster in 2017, yet he is obviously not the fourth best player on the team and comes nowhere close to cracking the top 10.

Smith’s $9.5 million cap hit, per Spotrac, lands him in dangerous waters. He is due No. 1 cornerback money, but will probably be the No. 3 or No. 4 cornerback on the team this fall. Moreover, Oakland ranked just No. 24 against the pass in 2016, so being third or fourth on the depth chart is nothing to get excited about.

The Raiders will be moving on from Smith at some point. Whether it is this year or next year, we do not know.

If Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie wants to see Smith in a new uniform in 2017, here are McKenzie’s options.

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Sep 25, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Oakland Raiders cornerback Sean Smith (21) celebrates after defeating the Tennessee Titans 17-10 at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Cut Raiders CB Sean Smith

Many of Raider Nation might clamor for Smith to be cut, however, that would make zero sense for the football team.

If McKenzie chooses to cut him, he would only save the franchise $250,000 since $9.25 million would still count against the cap as dead money, via Spotrac. Therefore, there is absolutely no benefit to seeing Smith cut this season.

Oakland would also not be able to find an equally talented replacement for $250,000. In addition, Smith has performed poorly, for his price tag, but is still a decent starting cornerback in the NFL as long as the team plays around his weaknesses.

If no cap space is to be gained from his departure, it is safe to say he will be on the roster come Week 1 of the NFL regular season unless McKenzie surprises the NFL by making a trade.

Lastly, the Raiders can cut Smith in 2018 without penalty since there would be no dead money by releasing him then.

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Photo via Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Raiders CB Sean Smith

A trade scenario is extremely unlikely since McKenzie has never been eager to make trades and no team would want to take on Smith’s contract without getting something in return.

Regardless, here is a hypothetical trade scenario that would help out two teams and send Smith out of Oakland.

First and foremost, the Raiders must find a team that is not expecting to win this season and has cap space to spare.

Luckily, the three teams with the most cap space, the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, are not expected to be a winning team in 2017.

Proposed trade: Raiders’ Sean Smith and 2018 6th round pick to San Francisco

Currently, the 49ers’ two starting cornerbacks, Dontae Johnson and Rashard Robinson, have Pro Football Focus player grades of 65.8 and 50.4 respectively.

If Smith came in, he would immediately become a starter Day 1 and could give valuable leadership to the young pieces in San Francisco. After Smith’s one year with the Niners, the organization could release him without any penalty and would have accrued an extra sixth round selection to help build the team for the future.

In regards to Oakland, McKenzie would be extremely hesitant to part ways with a sixth round draft pick, but he would save the team $5.25 million, via Spotrac.

With Carr and Jackson’s recent contracts and Mack’s future contract, $5.25 million could go a long way in helping keep the Raiders’ young core together. In essence, the $5.25 million could be more valuable than having one sixth round pick in 2018.

Maybe, that $5.25 million will help bring Raiders tackle Donald Penn to training camp.

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Photo via Getty Images

What McKenzie should do

Personally, parting ways with any assets is not the smartest move for the Raiders.

Oakland should keep Smith on the 53 man roster and cut him the following season. Then, they can have his services for 2017, not lose any draft picks and move on from him in 2018 when they can do so without hurting the team’s cap space.


Ryan Lipton is the founder of The JR Report. For more news and JR Report updates follow him on twitter @rytime98.

Why Lakers should trade for Bulls’ Dwyane Wade

The Los Angeles Lakers are in a great position to ascend rather quickly among the NBA ranks as long as they make the proper moves from now until the beginning of the 2018 NBA regular season.

First and foremost, Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka have been smart by making moves that have put them in a flexible spot for the future.

For example, Los Angeles has just under $54 million on the books for the 2018-19 season. The majority of it comes from Luol Deng and Jordan Clarkson who are due $18 million and $12.5 million respectively, via Spotrac.

However, players like Brook Lopez ($22.6 M) and Corey Brewer ($7.5M) are not under contract and will free up over $30 million in cap space, just enough to bring in a max player like Paul George.

For reference, Gordon Hayward’s contract has an average salary just under $32 million, just two million more than the cap space freed up by Lopez and Brewer.

Whether or not they sign Lopez in the future will depend on what free agents they can entice to come to SoCal. However, they were smart as they have the maneuverability to do what they want. Personally, him coming back at a right price would be a great move to lock up the center position for the foreseeable future.

Nonetheless, here is one step the Lakers can take now to improve their chances of becoming a contender in 2018.

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Photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

 

Package Deng and Clarkson

Obviously, the Deng contract is a major issue going forward as he is due close to $18 million per year over the next three seasons. An absurd number for a 32-year-old who scored just 7.6 points per game last season and just played in 56 games.

Unfortunately, no team, except maybe the New York Knicks, would take on Deng’s contract without getting something in return. Los Angeles will need to use Clarkson smartly.

A winning team could use Clarkson as a role player and a poor team could use him as a rebuilding piece, much like the Lakers, yet no winning team would want to take on Deng’s massive contract. Therefore, Los Angeles would need to ship him to a rebuilding team.

Essentially, the Lakers need to give up Deng and Clarkson for nothing in return. Then, the rebuilding team can take on a $18 million contract, for they have no one else good to pay and they got a future asset for taking on the contract.

With the aforementioned circumstances, it is hard to find a trade that works for Los Angeles and another team, but we worked hard to find a plausible trade offer that is a win-win for the two teams.

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Photo via Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

 

Dwyane Wade for Deng, Clarkson, 2020 first round pick

The first trade offer involves sending Chicago Bulls guard Dwyane Wade to Los Angeles for Clarkson, Deng and the Lakers’ 2020 first round pick.

The trade works out since Wade’s salary is close to equaling Deng and Clarkson’s salary, per ESPN’s NBA Trade Machine.

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Photo via Getty Images

 

How Los Angeles wins

At the moment, this trade would be a major win for Los Angeles. They would become better now, with Wade, and are better for the future since they shedded Deng’s $18 million contract. The only negative is that they would lose a nice piece in Clarkson, but getting rid of Deng far outweighs keeping Clarkson.

Wade is due $23.8 million in 2017, but he only has one year left on his contract so he doesn’t impact their future free agency plans.

Moreover, Wade will offer a veteran presence to nurture Lonzo Ball, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram.

The Lakers would also improve their ability to land LeBron James next year. Remember, James wants to play with his best friends again, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony. If Wade is in Los Angeles, then it would increase the chances of being able to land LeBron.

In regards to the draft pick, Los Angeles should be a good team by 2020, so their draft pick will have much less value.

All in all, the trade would free the Lakers of horrible contracts, bring in a better player who can develop the young guys and improve their chances of landing the greatest basketball player in the world.

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Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

 

How Chicago wins

The Chicago Bulls are not going to win any playoff series anytime soon after the departure of guard Jimmy Butler. Even with him, the odds would not be in their favor to win a playoff series.

As such, it is now rebuilding time for Chicago. They need to acquire as many draft picks as possible, gather young assets and cut salary cap.

In this deal, the organization would cut Wade’s $23.8 million and would acquire Clarkson who has three years left on his contract.

Deng’s contract is messy, but the Bulls are in the for the long haul. Deng would also be making a return to Chicago which would be a nice sight for the fans to see him retire as a Bull.

In addition, the Bulls would be bringing in a first round selection to help build for the future.

It is time for the organization to focus on winning and not worry about a relationship with Wade. Do what is best for the future.

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Photo via Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

 

Send it

The only way this deal doesn’t make sense is if the Bulls don’t want to part ways with their hometown hero Dwyane Wade. If they can get over that, then it would be a sound sports decision for both the Lakers and Chicago.

For Magic Johnson, the Lakers should be building through free agency by bringing marquee stars to Hollywood, not by drafting players.


*** All data and information on salary cap and contracts via Spotrac ***

NBA trade machine: How to send Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving to Celtics

Everything surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James is up in flames. His team has a minimal shot at winning the 2018 NBA Finals and has its second best player, superstar guard Kyrie Irving, asking for a trade.

Here is the proposed JR Report trade that would send Irving from Cleveland to the Celtics.

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Photo via Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

 

Cleveland receives: Isaiah Thomas, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Ante Zizic

Boston receives: Kyrie Irving

Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY SportsThe only issue, that could arise between the two teams, is getting the salaries to match to make the trade acceptable. Thanks to ESPN’s trade machine, we made sure this trade would be allowed by the NBA.

To balance out Irving’s $18 million salary, Ante Zizic and Terry Rozier were added to the trade.

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Photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Why the trade is a win for Boston

Boston may have given up a lot of assets in this trade, including Morris and Zizic, but it solidifies a major need moving forward, having a truly transcendent superstar.

Isaiah Thomas is an exciting and great player, but there are limitations to his game. He is the No. 464 best player in the NBA when it comes to defensive box plus/minus, per Basketball Reference. 

In comparison, Irving ranks No. 420, which isn’t much better, but we know Irving has the potential to pick up his defense in times of need.

Just think, the Golden State Warriors will be the team to beat for at least the next five seasons. Would one rather Irving guarding Warriors guard Stephen Curry or the 5-foot-9 Thomas?

As great as Thomas’s stats are, he is going to struggle down the stretch of games to defend and get his shot off over taller players. If Klay Thompson is guarding Thomas late in games, it will be tough for Thomas. However, we have seen what Irving can do to Thompson.

In this proposed scenario, Boston would finally have their superstar player that they can build around for a decade. It is not to say that Gordon Hayward, Al Horford and Thomas aren’t good players, but they aren’t transcendent. A title will not be won if any of those guys are the best player on the team.

If Irving is there with Hayward and Horford, along with Jason Tatum and the other young pieces, then there is a realistic shot of winning.

The Celtics will improve their chances to win the Eastern Conference and would be one smart move away from being able to contend with the Warriors in a seven game series.

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Photo via David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

 

Why the trade is a win for Cleveland

At this point, Irving is out of Cleveland and James will probably be wearing a different uniform after the 2017 season.

As a result, the Cavaliers need to start building for the future, something they never did while James held the franchise hostage. Cleveland won’t get anything for LeBron if he chooses to leave, so they should at least get something for Irving if the opportunity presents itself.

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert might not feel the greatest giving a superstar player away to Cleveland’s biggest rival, the Celtics, but it is not a time to be stubborn. Boston can provide the best assets in return for Irving giving Cleveland the ability to build for the future but also help James win now.

Gilbert shouldn’t pull a move like the Indiana Pacers by trading away a superstar for nothing out of spite. It might have made Pacers owner Herbert Simon feel better the day of the trade, but it won’t make him feel any better in the future as his team will be battling for the No. 1 overall pick for the next five years.

Cleveland, in this deal, would be getting Thomas in return. He is a slight downgrade from Irving, but should do well in combination with James.

The Cavaliers will also get Morris, who can come off the bench and be a great role player. The combination of Morris and Thomas might be better off than Irving in Cleveland. Also, there would be no issues with team chemistry as Irving would be on his way out.

Zizic is a massive seven footer who has potential to become a superstar in the league. Obviously, there is a long way to go, lowering his value, but he is still an important asset for the future and would be a piece Danny Ainge would be hesitant to give away.

Therefore, Cleveland would have Thomas and Morris to help now and will have Zizic in the future if it does become a total rebuild after a possible James departure.

Boston could also throw in a first round pick, but it is doubtful Irving’s trade value will be extremely high since the Cavaliers do not have a ton of leverage considering Irving could just leave the team in two years, much like the Paul George situation.

If the first round pick is the difference, it would make sense for Boston to part ways with it instead of waiting another four years for a draft pick to turn out. Better to get a sure-fire superstar than having the possibility of getting one four years down the line.

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Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge speaks during a news conference Friday, June 24, 2016, in Waltham, Mass. where the team introduced their 2016 NBA draft picks. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

Get it done

The deal is a win-win for everyone. Thomas leaves Boston, but gets to play with the greatest player on the planet. Irving gets to be the man on the team while still being able to contend for a title.

Boston gets their superstar player and Cleveland can build for the future and add a little more talent around James for now.

The two teams should get this deal done immediately. It is a true win-win.

Final Raiders 53-man roster projection before training camp

As NFL training camps begin to ramp up and with the Oakland Raiders’ less than one week away, 90 players become 53 in one fell swoop in 2017.

While it’s likely that Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie still has a couple more moves up his sleeve before this roster is fully fleshed out, a final 53-man roster projection before camp seemed in order.

Photo via USA Sports Images

QB (3): Derek Carr, EJ Manuel, Connor Cook

Here come’s the spoiler alert — Derek Carr is going to be the starting quarterback for Oakland in 2017.


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What Raiders should do with their $18M in cap space

Photo via Getty Images

As of Friday, the Oakland Raiders still possess over $18 million in cap space, per Over The Cap.

However, that figure is misleading as it does not include Raiders guard Gabe Jackson’s new extension, or two more draft picks Oakland still must sign that will cost around $4 million in total. Jackson signed a five-year, $56 million contract, $26 million guaranteed and an average annual salary of $11.2 million, per SpoTrac.

Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley should be expected to get around $3 million per year, based upon the players’ contracts around him and Raiders safety Obi Melfinowu should get around $800,000 based upon Houston Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham’s contract. 

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