There has been some speculation whether the Oakland Raiders could decide to trade standout running back Darren McFadden to get a first-round draft pick.
McFadden may be Oakland’s most valuable player and the player who it could get the most for. Would it be worth it? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of trading McFadden.
The Raiders need the picks: Oakland only has its fifth and sixth-round picks. It is expected to get a couple compensatory picks (none higher than No. 97). New Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie has said he values draft picks, so he would likely be open to getting some more picks and start to build the team with some young players. The only way to do that is to trade a veteran. Dealing McFadden may be worth it to McKenzie.
The Raiders could easily replace him: The Raiders are going to have to make a fast decision on backup running back Michael Bush. He is a free agent and he will likely be a hot commodity on the open market. Oakland could franchise Bush. It would be a stretch to franchise a backup. Yet, if McFadden is traded, Bush would be worth tagging. Speedy Taiwan Jones could be Bush’s backup.
McFadden is not durable: Even though McFadden has emerged since 2010, he hasn’t proven that he can stay healthy. In four NFL seasons, he has missed 19 games due to injury. He has missed at least three games in every NFL season and he missed the final nine games in 2011 due to a serious foot injury.
Why give up on a star? McFadden is on the cusp of being a superstar. He was tremendous before getting hurt last season. He had 614 yards and was averaging 5.4 yards per carry. In 2010, McFadden broke out for 1,157 rushing yards. He's multi-dimensional and he is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. The No. 4 pick of the 2008 draft turns 25 in August. He has plenty of tread on his tires. Why should the new Raiders regime make a mistake by trading their best player to solve a previous problem?
What if Bush can’t handle being a No. 1 back? Bush didn’t have more than 78 yards in a game in the final six weeks of the season. He averaged more than 3.5 yards per carry once during that stretch. What if Bush proves he can’t handle the rigors of being the primary back? The strength of the team would become a weakness.
Would they get enough in return? There are several teams that could look for a running back late in the draft including Cincinnati, Denver, New England and the New York Giants. Teams such as the Colts, Rams, Buccaneers and Dolphins could look to add a running back early in the draft. If Oakland can’t find a team to give a late first-round pick for McFadden, a high second-round pick may not be worth it. Would even a low first-round cornerback prospect be enough for the Raiders to give up McFadden? I have a hard time believing that and that’s why trading McFadden would worry me.
What do you think? Express your thoughts if the Raiders should trade McFadden to recoup draft picks in the comment section below.