At some point, if things go as planned, the Raiders trading for a 32-year-old, standout defensive end will make perfect sense. That time is not right now, or even this season.
Hence, the Raiders did not miss out when the Philadelphia Eagles snared Bennett and a seventh-round draft pick from the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for wide receiver Marcus John son and a fifth-round pick on Wednesday. The soon-to-be-executed move was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Sure, the Raiders could have used Bennett’s versatility, pass-rushing brilliance and imposing presence. But they have other more-pressing needs, including the $7.4 million in salary-cap room that Bennett is taking with him to the City of Brotherly Love.
And it would be nice to have a player of Bennett’s stature locked up for the next three seasons as a salary cheaper than that of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, the Raiders current pass-rushers.
But the Raiders need far more help at cornerback, running back, receiver, linebacker, offensive tackle, defensive tackle and strong safety.
The move made perfect sense for the Eagles, a team fresh from winning a Super Bowl and seeking to add another impact player at a relatively cheap price. Oh, and there’s the little matter of the Eagles actually saving money if they cut incumbent defensive end Vinny Curry, who is slated to earn $9 million next season.
It’s good to be the king, the Eagles will tell you these days. The Raiders still are working their way toward that status. Bennett would make the Raiders defense better, but he wouldn’t necessarily help them become a better team overall because of the cap hit. Also, he is at the point where defensive players slow down and become less productive.
It might take new Raiders head coach Jon Gruden a couple of years, maybe three, before he has his team Super Bowl ready. Bennett likely will be just another player by that time and wanting another sizable contract.
Now, if Seattle shops cornerback Richard Sherman, that’s a different story. It’s still risky, but the Raiders could benefit more from his presence than Bennett’s.
The Seahawks reportedly are exploring trade options for Sherman, who turns 30 later this month. However, he’s also recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon and slated to earn $11 million in base salary next season, the final one on his contract.
The Raiders are in dire need of a shutdown cornerback. Sherman has been one for most of his seven-year NFL career. He’s also the kind of player that would give the Raiders some much-needed swagger and a mentor for second-year defensive backs Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu.
But the Raiders would be better off seeing if the Seahawks release Sherman. That way, they can avoid having to give up at least one draft pick and paying such a huge salary for a player with question marks in terms of his recovery.