Prior to the start of the 2013 campaign, I mentioned that the Oakland Raiders should trade Darren McFadden while they could still get some considerable return for the oft-injured running back. There was little hope for their season, and the extra draft picks could have helped fill some holes this offseason.
Obviously, that never happened and now the Raiders will be forced to watch McFadden wade into the free agency pool with nothing but regret and disappointment to show for it. While he might not have fetched as much value as GM Reggie McKenzie wanted, it would have been better than letting him walk away and getting nothing in return.
Now, the Raiders lose a former first-round pick with Top 10 talent – when he’s healthy, of course. It’s obviously too expensive to try and re-sign him, but getting a mid-round pick for him last season would have been the better option. Instead, McKenzie decided to roll the dice with the hope that McFadden could help the Raiders stay competitive in 2013. As we know based off of McFadden’s ugly season (3.3 yards per carry) and the 4-12 record Oakland ended up with, McKenzie made a huge mistake.
At one point last season, there were several teams looking for a new running back. The New York Giants were runner-needy at one point, leaning on a washed-up Peyton Hillis after injuries accumulated. The Cleveland Browns also could have used a quality back after trading away starter Trent Richardson in Week 3.
Moving forward, the Raiders will hope to either re-sign Rashad Jennings – McFadden’s backup last season – or push ahead with 2013 sixth-round pick Latavius Murray as their starter. McFadden, however, will score himself a nice contract this offseason and get a fresh start with a new team.
When it all comes down to it, the Raiders are the losers in this situation. They failed to find a way to get something back for McFadden, and now have the privilege of watching him test free agency.
Great job, McKenzie – it’s like you want the Raiders to fire you.