After the Raiders traded Amari Cooper to the Cowboys on Monday, there was an even stronger sense the team would be open to moving its players.
Not an unreasonable assumption, given Oakland traded one of the NFL’s best defensive players, Khalil Mack, to the Bears in September. Now Cooper, arguably the team’s best offensive player, has been sent packing. Both players brought draft picks in return, and that seems to jibe with coach Jon Gruden’s desire to retool the roster over the next couple of years.
But when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen asked Gruden about the availability of quarterback Derek Carr, the Raiders coach said the team is finished trading ahead of the Oct. 30 deadline.
“We’re not trading anyone else,” Gruden said. “We’re trying to stay competitive and figure out a way to compete this next game (against the Colts).”
That is a decidedly different take on the team’s trade outlook than the view held by general manager Reggie McKenzie, who told reporters no one on the team is “untouchable” in the trade market.
“I’m not going to say anyone’s untouchable,” McKenzie said. “Now, in my heart of hearts, would I hate to lose some players more than others? Absolutely. I know the difficulty in replacing (certain guys), at certain positions I feel stronger about than others.
“As far as communication with me and any team, those lines will be open for anyone, on any one of our players. Whether I’m going to like it or not, it’s hard to say that anybody’s untradeable.”
Not surprising there is a continued disconnect here between the GM, who wanted to give Mack and Cooper new contracts to keep them, and the coach who did not. Still, McKenzie seemed upbeat about the team’s future.
“This is where you get a great opportunity to build,” McKenzie said. “You have pieces you can use to really build on what we have. With Gruden and the coaches that I’ve got here now, knowing where we’re heading schematically on both sides of the ball and special teams, we’re going to build this thing. We have the ammunition to build this thing really well here.”