clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Raiders have the ability to significantly weaken the Chiefs defense

New, comments
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

I am just like any other Kansas City Chiefs fan in the fact that I do not like the Oakland Raiders. I am, however, also able to appreciate their developing young roster enough to see how dangerous they could become if only a few key players made "the leap."

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. Khalil Mack and Mario Edwards. David Amerson and Latavius Murray. There's a solid foundation with some additional young players and strong veterans in place (e.g. Rodney Hudson) to make the Raiders competitive next season, if they can shore up some problem areas. One major area of concern is the secondary, which, while already thin, will also lose surefire Hall of Famer Charles Woodson to retirement.

Former first round pick D.J. Hayden is still being benched for lack of effort and on-field impact in his third season. David Amerson was perhaps the most improved player in the NFL after coming over from Washington, but that's only one player. T.J. Carrie is also around and able to start somewhere in the secondary, but when your secondary is giving significant reps to Neiko Thorpe (remember?), you know that depth is a serious issue.

Fortunately the Raiders have exactly what they need at a critical point for their team's development: supply for their demand. No team in the NFL has more money to spend this offseason than Reggie McKenzie (at least $72 million, depending on the final cap total). This means that even if Reggie has to overspend a bit to get his man, he's got the funds plus a team that's not nearly as difficult to sell.

That's bad news for a team that has impact players at the very positions the Raiders need most — like the Kansas City Chiefs.

Eric Berry

The first move I would make, if I were McKenzie, would be to make my willingness to overpay for Eric Berry very clear, very quickly. Spotrac's guess is that a five-year, $50 million deal would get it done for the Chiefs, but what would Berry say if the Raiders offered $12-13 million average. That's a serious leap over the highest paid safety in football (Earl Thomas, who averages $10 million annually), and Berry's agents would have to think twice about it, right?

If you're McKenzie, what is an extra two or three million if it delivers an impact safety like Berry. Not only does it shore up a weakness, but it also delivers a stomach punch to a division rival. If Berry actually left for Oakland, the bitter taste would remain for a very, very long time. But if you're McKenzie and can work cap impact into a wide-open year like this one, you overpay to get the guy you want.

Sean Smith

The same could also apply for a cornerback like Sean Smith. Jack Del Rio's defenses have nearly always been ranked in the top 10, whether with the Jaguars or the Broncos, and the Raiders have the foundation to do the same. An aggressive, physical corner with Smith's size would do wonders for giving pass rushers like Mack that extra second to disrupt the passer.

The franchise tag will hit $13 million for cornerbacks this year, but what if the Raiders offered a multi-year deal at that same figure. That's more than Richard Sherman will make and only second to Darrelle Revis's silly deal. Could Sean Smith pass that up? No one else is likely going to offer that much, but again, McKenzie can not only afford it but it's a position and player he really needs.

Who knows how all of this will play out, but the Chiefs would be wise to get things finished before some of the teams with a ridiculous amount of money are able to actually use it. Especially when one of those teams is likely tired of staring up at you in the standings.