If you were wondering, the answer to the above headline doesn’t include the words “Santa” and “Clara.” Mark Davis’ comments show that while he has no interest in sharing a stadium with the 49ers in the South Bay, he’s open to any and all opportunities elsewhere.
Who are we kidding? Mark’s like Tupac. Raised in the Bay Area, but when he closes his eyes he pictures himself rolling around with Suge with “To Live and Die in L.A.” blasting from the Alpine resting in the dash of a 1995 Chevy Impala.
Before the Raiders flee to Los Angeles, we’re going to talk about trades.
The Raiders need draft picks. The 49ers need receivers. It’s a match made in multipurpose facility heaven.
Oh, wait. We all know the reasons why a trade between the two teams would never happen…
1. HGTV shows featuring Canadian people are pretty common. NFL trades are the opposite of HGTV shows featuring Canadian people.
2. Trent Baalke probably already has a detailed, PowerPoint-ready plan for how he’s going to improve the 49ers’ passing game that he’s already shown Jed York. York probably didn’t see a slide titled “Make a trade with the Oakland Raiders.”
3. The Raiders signed T.J. Houshmandzadeh during the 2011 regular season. So now we’re supposed to believe they’re so deep at wide receiver that they’d have no problem trading one of the younger, talented, non-Houshmandzadeh receivers?
This very well could have represented the hierarchy of available NFL receivers in 2011:
1) Laurent Robinson … 2) T.J. Houshmanzadeh … 3) Gilbert Arenas … 4) Brett Swain … 137) Terrell Owens
Unless you were the Cowboys and hit the jackpot with Robinson, you probably weren’t unearthing a productive receiver in 2011.
In reality, Houshmandzadeh was brought aboard for a couple reasons. First, the Raiders had a bunch of talented young receivers, but not one of them played in more than 14 games. Second, Carson Palmer was lonely and needed a friend. The Raiders probably figured they could get Chad Ochocinco from the Patriots for about the same price as it took to sign Housh, but reportedly Bill Belichick is hooked on Ochocinco’s Twitter timeline. Who knew?
Let’s Make a Deal
The Niners would love a Dwayne Bowe or Marques Colston of their very own, but so would about 30 other teams, give or take one. It’s hard to imagine the 49ers setting up a structure where free agents from other teams are signed to contracts paying a higher average annual value than anyone who played for the team in 2011 is getting. Plus, the 49ers have several of their own free agents to take care of, unless they plan on remaking their defense at the same time they’re signing famous free agent WRs.
A.J. Green and Julio Jones notwithstanding, the 49ers would have a hard time drafting a starting wide receiver who can be counted on to push Michael Crabtree.
That’s what they’re looking for, isn’t it?
The Raiders have a receiver that not only could push Crabtree, but was better than Crabtree in 2011. Plus, they’re forever linked so it would be fun to watch them play on the same team — at least in my own sick mind. Yes, we’re talking about the 49ers trading for Darrius Heyward-Bey.
It’s an insane idea, surely too crazy to come true. Even with Al Davis gone, there’s a lot of pride on both sides that would prohibit this trade from occurring. But the Raiders’ draft picks currently consist of a fifth round pick, a sixth round pick and whatever compensatory picks they get from losing Nnamdi Asomugha, Zach Miller and Robert Gallery (and comp picks start at the end of the third round) … they’re kind of desperate for picks.
The 49ers have a more traditional draft setup: one pick per round until the seventh, when they have two.
Brandon Marshall was traded from the Broncos to the Dolphins for two second round picks, but even though he was a pain in the ass Marshall was coming off three years where he averaged over 1,200 yards and 7 touchdowns. DHB looks like he might have a bright future, but he did absolutely nothing in his first two seasons.
Would 49ers fans call a pick with DHB’s upside a good selection with their second round pick? Absolutely. Even though DHB was a high first round pick, would Reggie McKenzie like the idea of getting a second round pick from the 49ers to boost their embarrassing rush defense enough to give up their leading receiver from last season?
That’s where it gets dicey.
So if we put on our Baalke hat (don’t worry, it’s adjustable for you Bochy types), maybe we want to set our sights a little lower. Denarius Moore’s an electric talent who’s probably untouchable (which is why I think the Niners can get DHB if they approach this correctly), but what about Jacoby Ford? Ford looked like what those who play fantasy football call a “sleeper” before the 2011 season started, then Ford had a pretty snooze-worthy year. However, he’s also a guy the 49ers could probably pry away from Oakland with a fifth round pick (fourth round at the very highest), and Ford is a pretty incredible kick returner, with 4 TDs on kickoff returns in his 2-year NFL career.
Louis Murphy could probably be had at a decent price. Murphy also had a pretty forgettable season after two solid years to start his career. Since the 49ers drafted Ronald Johnson in the sixth round last year and let him go for nothing, why wouldn’t they be open to the idea of dealing a late-round pick to the Raider for Murphy, a guy who’s at least shown he can play?
The point is (yes, there IS one), both teams are in positions that cause to a potential trade to make some sense. The Niners should be ashamed after completing only one pass to a wide receiver in the NFC Championship Game. The Raiders hired a new GM and gave him a .500 team and no wiggle room when it comes to adding young talent (McKenzie can talk about adding undrafted free agents all he likes; that’s not a very quick way to rebuild/reload).
The Niners have a few more options to find wide receivers than the Raiders do when it comes to replenishing all the draft picks they squandered, but there’s a clear opportunity for both teams to help each other this off-season.
Now if we could just cruise past the bowl cut, tap into Mark Davis’ brain, switch Tupac albums and play “California Love” … then we’ll be onto something.