The Las Vegas Raiders are solidly in the middle ground between buyers and sellers with a 3-4 record at this juncture of the season.
Las Vegas is coming off a disappointing loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 7 and faces a tough matchup with the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football that appears unlikely to go well. Those realities might incline the franchise more toward being sellers, though they might still be able to convince themselves to buy instead.
Either way, Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler has plenty of decisions to make between now and the Oct. 31 NFL trade deadline.
Las Vegas Raiders Trade Deadline Moves
Trade TE Austin Hooper
Regardless of whether Las Vegas ultimately decides to buy or sell at the deadline, moving Austin Hooper seems to make all too much sense if they can find a suitable trade partner.
Hooper has provided some production this season with 10 catches for 99 yards but is not on pace to come close to most of his previous tallies. He caught 41 passes for 444 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Tennessee Titans and has been in that range over the last few years.
On top of that, the Raiders drafted what they hope to be their tight end of the future in Michael Mayer, who they selected early in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft. The rookie has caught 10 passes for 129 yards this season and is under contract for three more seasons, whereas Hooper is out of contract after this season.
The Cincinnati Bengals are one team that could use help at tight end, while the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills are among squads that could stand to enhance their depth at the position.
All of the circumstances surrounding Hooper ultimately add up to moving him being the most sensible option for the Raiders at this point.
Trade RB Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs is another player on an expiring contract for Las Vegas, and one that might command more money than the franchise is willing to pay him this offseason.
The fifth-year running back is coming off the best season of his career in 2022, when he racked up 340 carries for 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has been less than stellar so far in 2023, though, with 118 carries for just 347 yards (2.9 yards per carry) and two scores in the seven games thus far.
That lack of production would likely drive his value down some and would require a team that feels it can help him recapture the form he found last fall. His nearly $7.6 million base salary this season could also complicate matters, but acquiring teams would only be on the hook for roughly half of that figure.
If the Raiders intend to pay Jacobs this offseason, then keeping him around and hoping for a resurgence would make plenty of sense. If not, the Baltimore Ravens are one team that could certainly use some help at running back, as could the Tampa Bay Buccaneers if they decide to buy at the deadline.
One thing is clear, however — it’s time to make a decision on whether Jacobs has a long-term future with the organization or not.
Acquire Kristian Fulton, CB, Tennessee Titans
If Las Vegas ultimately decides it wants to buy at the deadline, Fulton is one player who could fill an obvious need at cornerback and help bolster the defense.
The fourth-year cornerback has been productive when available for the Tennessee Titans each of the last four seasons. Fulton is coming off perhaps his best season yet, tallying 48 tackles (35 solo), three tackles for a loss, five pass breakups, and one interception last season. He is up to 32 tackles (25 solo) and three pass breakups so far in 2023.
Fulton is in the final year of his rookie contract, which has a base salary of just over $1.3 million and would likely be easy to absorb under the salary cap. It would force the Raiders to give up capital for a player they might not be able to sign in the offseason, however.
There are any number of cornerback options potentially on the mark for Las Vegas to pursue, but Fulton is one that could make sense at the right price.