JBB’s Oakland Raiders Mailbag: Offseason Edition #4

Sep 3, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) watches from the sidelines during a game against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter at Century Link Field. The Seahawks won 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (24) watches from the sidelines during a game against the Oakland Raiders during the fourth quarter at Century Link Field. The Seahawks won 31-21. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The fourth offseason edition of JBB’s Oakland Raiders mailbag, answering questions sent to our Twitter account about the NFL Draft, Free Agency, Relocation and more.

With free agency in full swing, the NFL Draft in roughly a month and probable relocation just around the corner, there is a lot to talk about regarding the Oakland Raiders right now.

Raider Nation has questions, so let’s get to the answers.

Note: Some of the questions were duplicates or similar to other questions that had already been asked. If you don’t see your question specifically responded to, that is likely the reason why.

The only additions to the defense thus far have been the hiring of John Pagano and the signing of Jelani Jenkins, so yes, there is still plenty of reason to be worried about the defense. And last I checked, Ken Norton Jr. is still the defensive coordinator.

The defense may improve simply due to “addition by subtraction” with Malcolm Smith and D.J. Hayden leaving town, but they need a lot more than bad players leaving in order to get better. They need to add more talent.

The Raiders remain in the mix for Zach Brown, and that’d be a big help — as would bringing back Perry Riley Jr. But that’s only two players, so Reggie McKenzie will need to kill it on the defensive side of the ball in the draft if the defense is going to take a step or two forward in 2017.

Absolutely, Malik McDowell will be an option. But there are rumblings that he has some major character issues, so that gives reason for concern.

When Eddie Borsilli of Sirius XM Radio was a guest on the JBB Podcast, he said that someone he knows with ties to the Michigan State program “wouldn’t touch Malik” and called him a “team-wrecker”, which are obviously strong statements.

But character concerns haven’t stopped McKenzie from drafting/signing players before. Mario Edwards Jr. was considered lazy by many, Stacy McGee and Keith McGill had some off-field issues, he signed Aldon Smith and he’s visited with Joe Mixon. So I expect that McDowell will definitely be given consideration.

As much as it pains me personally to say this (I’m Bay Area born and raised, still live here), it seems like the writing is on the wall. Barring a miracle, the Raiders are gone.

The $750 million in public funding that Vegas is offering is going to be too much for the NFL to turn down. Billionaires love handouts, and they’ll be getting the biggest one in sporting history with this deal.

Big picture, though, I don’t see the logic in moving a team from one of its biggest markets to what will be one of its smallest markets. But Oakland, until Friday, never really put together a viable deal. Their Hail Mary effort that has the Fortress Investment Group offering a traditional loan matching what Bank of America is providing in Vegas should have been done a long time ago.

Better late than never, but never late is better. The NFL already has their minds made up.

No updates on the Marshawn front, but yes please. This has to happen.

The lack of free agent action absolutely has everything to do with Carr, Mack and Gabe. I’m not sure why Raiders fans are “spoiled” about free agency — this is Reggie’s fifth offseason and he has spent big money exactly once in free agency.

But yeah, this is all about keeping homegrown talent. As much as many fans would like, there is no option like in Madden to turn off the salary cap. Derek Carr is going to command an enormous extension, as will Khalil Mack next offseason. Deals like what the two of them will receive put a stranglehold on the salary cap, so this will be a new challenge for McKenzie.

From here on out, expect McKenzie to be a bargain shopper. That’s the price you pay when you draft well, but it’s a price well worth paying.

Hopefully it’s Marshawn, but as mentioned above, there hasn’t been any updates on this situation since the first 48 hours or so of the story breaking.

If not Marshawn, the 3rd down back is going to be someone from the draft. Jamaal Williams, Brian Hill and others are intriguing — it’s a talented class.

Regarding the relocation fee, it’s going to be reduced to somewhere between $325 to $375 million. And Mark will likely get 10 years to pay it off.

Regarding the uncertainty of the fanbase going to Vegas to attend games, Mark truly believes he’ll be able to pack the house each week. And maybe he’s right — Los Angeles is just a short flight away, and many fans from other areas will surely travel at least once during the season, just for the experience.

The challenge will be week in and week out, year after year, relying on fans from out of town to fly in to pack the stadium. The concern should be that a lot of those fans might be from opposing teams, and if that happens, there goes your home field advantage.

Definitely Raekwon McMillan. He’s my top choice for the second round, but I have serious doubts he’ll be available still.

Jarrad Davis is next and Anthony Walker after that. I’m not much of a Zach Cunningham fan, as I have reservations about his tackling ability.

For a later round prospect, Marquel Lee is intriguing. But it’s really not that great of an inside linebacker class, unfortunately for the Raiders.

I’m not taking him at 24, no.

I have major reservations about his ball skills, and I don’t see him being that good of a cover safety. And when he played linebacker, several teams exposed him by just running the ball right at him (like Ohio State) and he was completely ineffective.

In the third round, I’d take a flier on Peppers. But not earlier than that.

Zach Brown is currently deciding between the Raiders and the Dolphins, and he’s looking for $6 million per year.

It’s really quite simple:

If he wants to win, he’ll come to Oakland.

If he wants to get paid, he’ll go to Miami.

I’m not sure this qualifies as a question, but I’ll do my best.

The Raiders need to draft two cornerbacks and one safety.

One of the cornerbacks has to be able to play outside, and the other one needs to be a slot cornerback. The corner who plays outside, if he pans out, could be the Sean Smith replacement if things don’t work out this year.

The corner who plays the slot can come in and play right away. Or at the very least, they can compete with T.J. Carrie for that spot.

Must Read: The Good and The Bad of Each Free Agent Addition

The safety, depending on how early they are drafted, would either replace Reggie Nelson right away, or sit behind for a year and then take over.