Oakland Raiders: Does Darren McFadden Have Any Trade Value?

John Doublin – Jan 10, 2013

As the 2012 NFL Season came to an end with the "new era" of Oakland Raiders football falling flat, a contingent of Raider Nation has begun calling for the team to cut ties with explosive running back Darren McFadden, and trade him away for draft picks.

Those fans are suggesting that McFadden is not productive enough, too injury prone and costs too much money to help the team, and that more picks would be better for the team than keeping the former 4th overall pick.

Is this true? Is it realistic? What is McFadden's trade value? Are teams even interested in him? What could the Raiders actually get for McFadden in a trade?

As we all know, Raider Nation is one of, if not the most informed and knowledgeable fan bases in professional sports, but also one of the most reactionary. In this case, the fans calling for this deal to happen are dead wrong. Trading D-mac would, not only fail to solve anything, it wouldn't produce the results this minority of fans seem to think it would.

The sad truth of the matter is that McFadden is indeed injury prone, he is coming off an unproductive season and he would not garner the kind of interest this small faction of Raider fans are speculating he would.

These fans should ask themselves a few questions:

  1. Why do you want to get rid of McFadden?
  2. Do you think there is a player in free agency or the draft who can be as good as McFadden?
  3. Once he's gone, who starts for the Raiders?
  4. What kind of compensation do you think a team would offer for McFadden?

If you want McFadden gone simply because he's too injury prone, then what makes you think another team would want to take the risk with him? No team wants a player that is constantly injured.

If you want him gone because you think he's too expensive, (scheduled to make $8,018,417 in 2013) what team would want a guy who is so grossly over paid? Remember, when a player is traded, his salary and contract remain intact, unless he agrees to renegotiate with his new team.

If you think there is a player available, either in the draft or free agency, who is as explosive and a "home run-hitter" like McFadden is, why are all the "experts" talking about Jarvis Jones, Mantei Te'o and A.J. McCarron and not the guy you're thinking about? There is no player available right now that brings what McFadden brings, injury prone or not.

Let's say you get your wish, and the Raiders trade McFadden. Who starts for the Raiders? Mike Goodson? Goodson is a nice player, but he's shown a tendancy to fumble and isn't half the blocker or receiver McFadden has proven to be. The offense would take a huge hit in all phases...rushing, receiving and pass protection. Is that better for the team?

Lastly, how much compensation do you really believe another team would offer for a running back who, by your own admission, is fragile, over-paid and unproductive? If you're right about McFadden's downfalls, the other NFL teams wouldn't touch him with a 10 foot pole.

So, that being said, what's McFadden's real trade value?

It's hard to say, but it's not much. When you consider that teams can get running backs like Arian Foster or Ryan Grant undrafted, why bother spending draft picks and $8+ million on a guy many consider to be injury prone and unproductive?

Also, consider the fact that Vick Ballard was a 5th round pick for the Colts, but still put up 814 yards, 3.9 yards per carry and three touchdowns, all numbers better than McFadden's. Ballard is scheduled to make just over $500,000 in 2013. Alfred Morris was a 6th round pick for the Redskins, and put up stellar numbers. 1,613 yards, 4.8 yards per carry and 13 touchdowns, and is scheduled to make only $511,000 in 2013.

Knowing that you can find great running backs in the later rounds of the draft, or even undrafted, why on earth would a team offer anything for McFadden at all? It would be ludicrous and could even cost a general manager his job. Even a team that is desperate for a running back wouldn't consider offering Oakland more than a single, 5th or 6th round pick, probably less.

Now, is a "hit or miss" 5th or 6th round pick really enough for a player that, when utilized correctly, can produce upwards of five yards per carry, over 1,000 yards, and double-digit touchdowns. Those are the numbers McFadden put up in the Hue Jackson/Al Saunders power blocking scheme in 2010 and 2011.

The reality of this situation is that McFadden doesn't hold much, if any trade value. It would be much better for the team to ask him to renegotiate, (which is unlikely considering it's the last year of his deal) put him in a position to succeed and see how he does. At the end of the season, if he manages to stay healty and is productive, address a contract extension then.

/articleimages/McFadden.jpgIf he can't remain healthy in 2013, having him in a productive system that suits his talent for 10 or 12 games is still better than getting rid of a fan favorite; a guy that can be the best back in the league when used properly, for a 5th round pick or less...especially when you consider that if you trade him, you still owe him money. 

The right thing to do, from both of a football sense, and a business sense, is to hang onto McFadden, let him play out his deal, assess his productivity with the new offensive coordinator in 2013, and make a decision from there.

Even if general manager Reggie McKenzie agrees with this small faction of Raider Nation and wants to trade McFadden, it's almost a foregone conclusion that there would be little to no interest or value offered in return.

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