Given their need for playmakers on offense, it would seem counter-intuitive for the Oakland Raiders to take an already established — and potentially explosive — piece off of the board. But that’s the rumor currently being floated around, most recently pushed by Raiders beat writer Paul Gutierrez.
Gutierrez is speculating on the idea that the Raiders might be exploring the possibility of trading wide receiver Denarius Moore. It’s true that with the signing of veteran pass catcher James Jones, the Raiders’ receiving rotation has gotten a little bit jammed up. And if Oakland, as is widely expected, selects a receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft, that logjam is only going to get worse. After all, there are only so many receptions to go around. From that perspective, moving one of their young and talented receivers makes a certain amount of sense. It makes even more sense if Oakland can get a player in return who fills another of the team’s many needs.
One of the biggest knocks on Moore over the course of his young career has been his inconsistency. He has been known to make a spectacular, highlight reel catch on one play and have the ball simply go through his hands on the next. He’s got an astounding amount of potential, but as he enters his fourth season in the league, there are a lot of people wondering if he’ll ever be able to put it all together and turn that potential into a reality. GM Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen are both fighting for their jobs this season, and unfortunately they may not have the luxury of the time it will take to find the answer to those questions.
Though he possesses blazing speed, Moore’s inconsistency catching the ball may ultimately be his undoing. Having brought in a reliable target in Jones, plus the emergence of fellow wideouts Rod Streater and Andre Holmes as legitimate threats last season, will ultimately serve to make him expendable.
Of course, the opposite side of the coin is that at 25 years old, Moore is still young. He has raw skills and unlimited potential, and being able to learn how to play the position from seasoned pros like Jones and QB Matt Schaub can only serve to benefit him, help him grow, develop and fulfill the potential everybody sees in him. For three seasons now, Moore has seemed to be on the verge of breaking out and turning into a dynamic, impact receiver. But for three seasons now, he’s failed to get over that hump, has remained inconsistent and has fallen short of living up to his potential.
In a perfect world, Moore would have the time to grow and develop in the system with the sudden influx of veteran leadership there to mentor him. But this isn’t a perfect world, and the Raiders don’t have the time. They are in something of a win-now mode, with McKenzie and Allen’s jobs on the line. They obviously saw more promise in Holmes and Streater last season, as their playing time and touches increased over the course of the season. That might suggest that Moore is the odd man out of the receiving rotation. The receiving corps is suddenly flush with talent and may well be even more so if Oakland picks up an impact receiver like former Clemson star Sammy Watkins or Texas A&M standout Mike Evans in the draft. If that happens, Moore is very likely on his way out of Oakland.
Moore is a solid, if wildly inconsistent talent. He has the potential to be a 1,000-yard, playmaking receiver. But the Raiders, desperate to improve upon two consecutive 4-12 seasons, simply do not have the time to sit and wait for the potential to flourish. The question then becomes, who might be willing to trade for a young and talented, but raw and inconsistent receiver? And what might they be willing to give up in exchange? Moore likely will not bring in top dollar in return, but for his speed and raw talent, he should be able to bring in a respectable offer, something that will help fill one of the many holes in Oakland’s Roster.
It’s all speculation at this point, but it is definitely something to keep an eye on as we get closer and closer to the draft.