The Arizona Cardinals and Las Vegas Raiders made a deal that shored up Arizona’s defense.
Tuesday was supposed to be all about cuts, but trades have taken the headlines in the NFL world. In the late afternoon hours, the Las Vegas Raiders and Arizona Cardinals struck a deal sending former second-round pick Trayvon Mullen to the Cardinals in exchange for a conditional seventh-round pick.
The pick has the potential to become a sixth-rounder depending on playing time.
According to Ian Rapoport, Mullen was going to be cut by the Raiders if they did not find a deal for him.
The Raiders are cleaning house with some younger, early-round picks that haven’t reached early expectations, as they also released Alex Leatherwood today, a former first-round pick (2021).
Raiders trade grades: Impatience may bite them with Trayvon Mullen
The Raiders are clearly fiddling around with their roster makeup and possibly looking to recalibrate a little after a rough 2021-22 season on and off the field. Their disgraced coach had to resign and a player was involved in a tragic DUI. It wouldn’t be the worst thing to start with a clean slate in regards to younger players.
After cutting Leatherwood and getting rid of Mullen, it’s clear the patience is thin in Vegas. But was it the right call to move an above-average, young cornerback for a late draft pick?
Time will tell, but the fact that the Raiders decision-making came down to this or releasing Mullen for nothing tells you they didn’t exactly have an optimal fit nor timeline of resources. To be sure, Rock Ya-Sin and Nate Hobbs, starting cornerbacks, are solid and the team has depth above Mullen, but the Raiders probably could’ve gotten more.
Vegas liquidates some depth and gets draft compensation in return. The fact that they got something for someone they nearly needed to cut to get their roster down (which is what happened with Leatherwood) is good, but not enough.
RAIDERS TRADE GRADE: C+
Cardinals trade grades: A decent flier to help the defense
The Arizona Cardinals picked up Trayvon Mullen for just a late-round draft pick. Now, still early in his career, they have a starting cornerback hungry to prove himself in a contract year.
Mullen, who was injured for much of last year after playing 16 games in his first two seasons, put up a 61.7 score for Pro Football Focus which is better than current starting cornerbacks Byron Murphy Jr. or Marco Wilson.
So, effectively, the Cardinals brought in an upgrade at cornerback without giving up much, and don’t have any long-term commitments to him if he doesn’t work out. The main concern is health and availability.
He may not pan out perfectly, but even if he doesn’t, the price makes the risk worth it.
CARDINALS TRADE GRADE: A-