Raiders mailbag: Could Chiefs’ Chris Jones be big-ticket item in free agency? Absolutely

Targeting Chiefs' Chris Jones in free agency could pay off like it did with center Rodney Hudson

Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones (95) sacks Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
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Getting to your questions after some down time . . .

Q: My number one FA wish is the Chiefs DT, Chris Jones. If the Chiefs don’t sign or tag him, do you have any feelers telling you the Raiders may pursue hard for Jones?  (@macomboys)

Jones, if available when free agency opens, might be the most likely candidate to get a a Trent Brown-type contract because of his age (25) and production over the last two seasons. Would be taking a page out of Reggie McKenzie’s book. The best move he made in free agency was stealing Rodney Hudson from the Chiefs.

Q: Why do Raider fans hate the Niners more than their division rival the Chiefs? Better yet why would you stay a fan after ownership keeps showing they don’t care about the fan base? In my life the Raiders have moved twice. (@Jason1777)

I think its roots were in Oakland being perceived as the doormat to San Francisco. Blue collar vs. wine and cheese. It’s an East Bay thing that should lessen in time with the Raiders in Las Vegas. As for the fan base, each fan is different. My late father bailed as soon as they moved to Los Angeles. I know others who said they bailed, but then once the games started, couldn’t help but root for them. I suspect that will happen again.

Q: What’s Mayock’s priority this offseason when trying to slow down the Chiefs? Adding to the pass rush? Improving coverage down field? Or adding offensive weapons? (@AINTnothinNICE)

I would think it’s got to be defense. The Raiders have been poor on defense for a long time and it has to do more with talent (speed, specifically) than coaching. They’re only a piece or two away from being a pretty good offensive team.

Q: Here’s a question: Why does God hate us? — @RaideraceACE562

We haven’t spoken as of late. I think Derek Carr would say God doesn’t hate anyone.

Q: Mahomes is a rare special player, compared to him, every NFL team has a mediocre qb! We as Raiders fans have to stop comparing him to Carr, they are two  entirely different qb’s and he clearly has a more superior TEAM around him bro (@TivaresM)

Not sure what the question is there, but your premise is sound.

Q: How much does the conservative check down feel of the offense have to do with: a) Gruden’s design/expectations and play selection b) Carr being too cautious c) not having targets open on longer patterns d) other (@Zymurge13)

It’s A, B and C, probably in that order. Gruden wants completions and first downs. That’s Job 1. To a degree, Carr is being coached to be cautious but I think it also has to do with some bad interceptions in his first year with Gruden at the beginning of the season – costly end zone picks on early downs. And yes, Carr has the arm to find open targets deep when they’re there.

Tom Flores has two Super Bowl wins but has yet to get the call from the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Q: What in your opinion keeps Tom Flores from the HOF as a coach? Two rings as a head coach, one as an assistant … Cowher has one . . . Bonus Question: Will they wait for Plunkett to pass like they did to Stabler? Plunkett two rings, SB XV MVP.. Fouts zero SB appearances.  (TJ Taasavegin email)

Two things hurt Flores. First, he’s under Al Davis’ shadow, although to my way of thinking that should enhance his status because working for Al was no picnic and not everyone can do it. Second, his tenure in Seattle hurts as well. That said, I think he deserves to make it. As for Jim Plunkett, I think people look at his overall stats and simply don’t see a Hall of Fame quarterback. Personally, I think Cliff Branch should go first.

Q: Dak Prescott for 4-plus years or Tom Brady for 1-2? If I’m the Raiders trying to make a big splash entering Las Vegas, I want to solve the QB position for potentially the next decade and not be back to square one 2 years later. (Ricardo Audain email)

Neither. The big splash will have nothing to do with the name of the quarterback. It will have to do with wins and losses. My thoughts on Carr being the quarterback next season haven’t changed.

Q: Tannehill replacing Carr? (@swiftybabymusic)

The only way I’d see it happening is if Carr brought back a bounty of draft picks.

Q: Will you still be covering the Raiders in Vegas? (@travisbrown100)

Definitely won’t be moving there or covering every game. The exact nature of Raiders coverage in the first year of Las Vegas is to be determined by someone higher up the food chain.

You’ve been covering the Raiders for years. They’ve had one winning season in nearly 20 years. What has been their biggest obstacle to become a winning team again? Front office/ownership? Coaching? Acquiring talent? (@Liberty_Raider)

Because of front-office/ownership, the Raiders have had zero continuity. Two things are equally true. Al Davis is an NFL Hall of Famer and an icon. And he ran his franchise aground. Mark Davis has actually made two decent head-coaching hires in Jack Del Rio and Gruden, and the second one was the one he wanted all along. The Raiders need the Gruden-Mayock dynamic to work as it did with the 49ers this season with Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. That will lead to consistency of approach and better talent. Early indications are good.

Jon Gruden (left) and Mike Mayock aren’t about to divulge their plans for the draft or free agency in 2020.

Q: Hearing any whispers regarding who the Raiders will target during free agency ?  (@AZRaider75)

For a guy who worked in TV, Mayock is extremely tight-lipped as a G.M. And nobody believes what Gruden says so it doesn’t matter. Personally, I think their big ticket push could be Chiefs DT Chris Jones (see first question) and keep an eye on Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson to pair with a drafted receiver.

Q: Will Isiah Simmons fall to us at 12 and if so, do we grab him? Do we pick up another back free agency? A 3 headed monster might give us more clout in offence. Henry and Jacobs/Richard in the backfield? Oooof! Will Burfict stay on? Samuel White (email, Sydney, Australia)

If Simmons falls to 12, absolutely. But I don’t think that’s going to happen. Would it be worth trading 12 and 19 to move up a few spots if he drops past 8 or so? I think there will be a new back to go along with Josh Jacobs and Jalen Richard, but wouldn’t count on Derrick Henry. With Burfict now essentially on triple not-so-secret probation and one hit away from being banished, it’d be hard to bring him back.

Q: We have read Mayock saying he doesn’t really value wide receivers in the first round and you can tell the organization doesn’t value linebackers either based on who we have passed up the last two year (Roqaun Smith, Devin White, Allen). Do you see the Raiders trading up and trying to get Burrow? I think it makes the most sense to make a splash  (Casey Childers email)

First off, Mayock isn’t making the final call, Gruden is. And if Jon wants a wide receiver, he’ll take one. The linebacker thing has been an organizational philosophy seemingly forever, and Rolando McClain didn’t help any when the Raiders went out of character. I think they may be ready to move on a linebacker that can run if there’s one to their liking in the first round.

Q: I wonder if Rod Marinelli brings Sean Lee with him? Would be great to team him up with whoever we bring in. He’s injury prone and probably on his way out but that guy can dissect a play better than the Astros can “read” pitchers. (@Loua3)

Sean Lee reminds me a little too much of Derrick Johnson. Better to get younger and faster. I’d be fine bring back Will Compton as a veteran for the roster to pair with a younger linebacker.

 

 

 

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