For the second consecutive offseason the Oakland Raiders find themselves in a cozy cap corner.
After demonstrating firm due diligence last year, Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie spent the team’s money wisely and found hidden, productive gems despite being able to sign virtually any top-tier free agent.
We should expect McKenzie to exercise that same configuration heading into March, given he’ll in all likelihood look in to locking up perennial franchise cornerstones Derek Carr and Khalil Mack to long-term extensions—or at least float the idea. Even then, though, McKenzie still would have a considerable amount of dough to dangle.
However, the most potent inclusion the Raiders can execute won’t be made through free agency, but through trade. One name: Kam Chancellor.
Chancellor, 27, is likely to, again, seek a new contract from Seattle, stemming from last August when he was prepared to sit out for a considerable amount of time until an agreement was reached. Chancellor wound up missing the first two games of the season, clearly exemplifying his displeasure.
And there’s no guarantee Seattle is going to re-sign Chancellor. Seattle has already shelled out a large quantity of cap space to Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson. Not to mention the team will also eventually have to deal with Michael Bennett’s contract.
There’s the general consensus that McKenzie doesn’t wish to part ways with draft picks, however, for Chancellor, he should adamantly reconsider.
Having lost Charles Woodson to retirement, the Raiders currently have Nate Allen and a few unproven players occupying their safety corps. T.J. Carrie spent some time at safety last season, but he’s likely needed at cornerback. For a team whose secondary struggled mightily this past season, Chancellor’s services fit the bill on a number of levels: he’s young, enormously built by safety standards, in the prime of his career and a Super Bowl champion.
This hypothetical quest to acquire Chancellor does not mean McKenzie has to necessarily surrender a first-round pick, either. The Bills received LeSean McCoy, who was a top-3 running back at the time, for an injury-riddled Kiko Alonso. So, theoretically, Chancellor can be had for a reasonable price. It all boils down to McKenzie’s negotiation tactics.
Should Seattle opt to part ways with Chancellor, it’s in their best interest to do so promptly. The Seahawks probably don’t want to endure another holdout episode and they surely can get their highest value for Chancellor right now. But if Seattle displays impetuous patience, McKenzie should, without hesitation, pounce on the opportunity.
The biggest obstacle McKenzie would have to hurdle if a trade were to be in place is whether or not Chancellor agrees to a long-term extension before he’s shipped; that would be the deal-breaker in this case. McKenzie already values draft selections dearly, so any acquisition involving Chancellor would most certainly need to spell longevity.
Chancellor would be walking into a franchise who has a new identity and familiarity with Raiders defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr., who was Seattle’s linebackers coach a few seasons ago. The four-time Pro Bowler is exactly the type of impact player the Raiders long for in their secondary.
If Chancellor isn’t going to cost any young, core players or multiple high draft picks, there’s no overthinking the situation: pull the plug.
Of course, if Seattle’s unwilling and/or has a steep asking price, there’s always Eric Weddle.