Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Teams keep tabs on Raiders’ $51 million and $32 million in Pro Bowlers

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The Las Vegas Raiders attempted to go all-in on the trade for Davante Adams in 2022, but as the year progressed it became clear they weren’t ready to assert themselves. The team led 6-11 and delivered some of the most embarrassing performances of any team this season. A major reason for the Raiders’ troubles was an injury. Wide receivers Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller missed a combined 15 games throughout the season through injury.

Las Vegas gave Renfrow a $32 million contract extension and Waller a $51 million offseason, so not having them on the field was a huge blow. They’ve never been able to get into a big rhythm and haven’t had the best seasons they’ve played. Given how expensive the two are and the lack of production, it’s possible the Raiders could switch from one or both this offseason. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, teams around the NFL will be watching closely to see if they become available.

“Meanwhile, I spoke to a few people in the league in Vegas who expect coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler to continue to aggressively streamline the roster,” Fowler wrote. “McDaniels are big on culture fits and want their own boys. Teams will be keeping an eye on tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow.”

Many online have run with Fowler’s article, suggesting that the Raiders buy Renfrow and Waller. That’s not the case. Fowler’s article only relays what he hears from other teams in the NFL. It’s certainly possible that the two Pro Bowlers will be shipped, but that’s no guarantee.

Fowler noted that Zielger and McDaniels want their “own boys,” but they gave Waller and Renfrow overtime during the offseason. That means the two players are now the McDaniels boys. Although both have had disappointing years, they have proven valuable pieces in the past. There was a time when there was a dispute that Waller was the best tight end in the league and Renfrow was the best slot receiver. If the Raiders are hoping to attract a quarterback like Tom Brady, they’re going to want to make sure they have elite weapons to surround him with. It’s no secret that Brady has had more success than anyone with tight ends and slot receivers.

Trading Waller and Renfrow would be weird right now as their value is probably at its lowest point. Last year, The Athletic’s Vic Tafur reported that the Green Bay Packers had offered the Raiders a second-round pick for Waller at the close of trading. Las Vegas declined, and a few weeks later saw Injured Reserve close. Maybe the Packers would still be willing to give up a second-round pick for the tight end, but he’s only getting older.

Renfrow is probably less valuable. He only has one season rushing for 656 yards. He’s a very good player, but a slot receiver having a bad year isn’t going to set the market on fire. The Raiders could potentially get a second-round pick for him, but a third-rounder is likely the upper limit. It’s not worth giving up Renfrow for this kind of design capital.

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