Oakland Raiders: Framework In Place For Blockbuster Deal

Dec 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Ndamukong Suh (93) looks on from the sidelines as the Dolphins play the Indianapolis Colts in the second half in at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 27, 2015; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Ndamukong Suh (93) looks on from the sidelines as the Dolphins play the Indianapolis Colts in the second half in at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Innerarity-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oakland Raiders have already had a successful offseason and have vastly upgraded their team – but the work is not done, as evidenced by the massive blockbuster deal about to go down.

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Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie recently said that after a free agent splash that netted him Kelechi Osemele, Bruce Irvin, and Sean Smith, his big money deals were likely done for the year. But whether that was an intentional bit of misdirection or if his thinking changed the moment the idea of this trade was raised isn’t clear. What is clear is that the moment McKenzie pulls the trigger on this deal, Oakland’s defense is going to get a lot better and a lot meaner.

A year after their pursuit of free agent Ndamukong Suh failed to yield results – thanks to the Dolphins giving him an obscene amount of money – it seems that McKenzie is finally going to get his man. The framework for a blockbuster deal has been completed that will alter the balance of power in the AFC West, most definitely, but perhaps in the entire conference as well.

Under the terms of the deal, first reported by NFL Insider Jay Glazer, the Raiders will be giving up this year’s first round draft pick (14th overall), second round pick (44th overall), one of their fifth round picks (154th overall) and their 2017 first round pick in exchange for defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and safety Reshad Jones.

Both players fill areas of need for the Raiders, with Jones taking over for the retired Charles Woodson and Suh slotting in on a defensive line in need of more pass rushers. It gives Oakland two more immediate starters on defense and might be enough to make this one of the most fearsome, intimidating units in the NFL.

McKenzie, who is notoriously stingy with his draft picks was asked about the deal during an interview on SiriusXM NFL last night and whether or not he gave up too much in exchange for Suh and Jones.

"“You have to pay to play in this league,” he said. “As you know, I wanted to get a deal done for Ndamukong last year and didn’t get him, so when I was approached during the Combine about a possible deal, I jumped at the chance. It’s not every day you can get a player of the caliber of these two and it makes our whole team better. Did I give up a lot? Yeah, but at the end of the day, I have to do what’s best for our team. And this move, this makes us contenders right now. It’s the right decision.”"

After the news started to break, Raiders beat writer Tim Kawakami caught up with HC Jack Del Rio and asked him about having Suh and Jones on his roster.

"“I’m excited. Ken (Norton) is excited. We’re all fired up and ready to get these guys integrated into our defense. It’s a defense that is going to scare some people this year.”"

The deal comes as something of a surprise given that Suh recently restructured his contract with the Dolphins. It appears though, that move to lower his cap hit, was done with the specific purpose of moving him.

The fact that they were willing to move him at all may not be all that surprising after all. Suh had a rather rocky relationship with the Dolphins coaches and players last year and was reported to have called out his teammates on more than one occasion. The Dolphins, after giving Suh the mammoth contract they did, perhaps expected somebody who was more of a clubhouse leader and less of a petulant child.

His attitude and his penchant for dirty play makes it somewhat surprising that McKenzie would give up the king’s ransom he did to get Suh. McKenzie desires high character guys who are leaders on the field and in the locker room. While Suh is a beast on the field, he’s more of a prima donna in the locker room, according to some reports.

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In Jones, they are getting a six year pro with 15 career interceptions. He’s a reliable tackler and has a nose for the ball. He makes plays and isn’t afraid to stick his nose in on the run. He seems more of the protoypical McKenzie-esque player – a quiet leader, good locker room and high character guy. Jones brings a lot of experience and will most definitely upgrade Oakland’s defensive backfield.

But make no mistake, it is Suh who is the centerpiece of this deal. McKenzie wanted him a year ago, pursued him a year ago and finally got him. Apparently, good things do come to those who wait. The deal is contingent of course, hinges on both Suh and Jones passing their physicals which are expected to take place next Monday.

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The addition of Suh and Jones has to make the Raiders the odds on favorite to win the AFC West, if not the AFC as a whole. Their offense will be much better and stronger this season, and their defense is going to be ferocious.

And if you’ve read this far, I just wanted to wish you a very happy April Fool’s Day. If you believe a single word of this piece, I have some beach front property in Arizona I’d like to sell you.

Happy April Fool’s Day!