The Oakland Raiders aren’t looking at too much cap space for the 2018 season with big money already earmarked for the quarterback and offensive line. The money they do clear will probably be better spent on the defense which means they will have to be smart in deploying their resources on the skill positions and the wide receiver position in particular.
’18 Raiders: A Closer Look…
This wide receiver group will be led by Amari Cooper who should bounce back from an off-year. He doesn’t have the injury baggage of L.A. Rams wide-out Sammy Watkins so his 5th-year option is basically a lock to be picked up. This gives the Raiders time to figure out their long-term plan with Cooper.
In the meantime, they take his $7.2 million cap hit and have a bona fide number one receiver who should have a much-improved stat lone next season. After Cooper is where it gets interesting. Michael Crabtree can still make plays but his roughly $7.7 million cap number is too much for the Raiders to swallow at this point. It’s hard to tell what the interest around the league would be for Crabtree so he’s definitely a candidate to be released and brought back at a lower number especially with the comfort level he has with Derek Carr.
Seth Roberts has been a serviceable slot receiver and they can’t release him without taking on some dead money so he’s a question mark. Cordarrelle Patterson’s value is on special teams coupled with big-play ability on offense and Johnny Holton has flashed some long ball ability but ball security for Holton and Roberts was alarming.
The bottom line is this group needs an upgrade and they need it with financial prudence. They could be a little bold and go with WR Calvin Ridley in the first round which would create a very interesting Alabama pairing of Cooper and Ridley but it’s hard to imagine the Raiders not going defense with their first-round pick. More than likely, however, is utilizing a couple of mid to late round picks and looking for some free agent bargains. Here are some options:
YOUNG FREE AGENTS
- Donte Moncrief
Moncrief, a third-round pick of the Colts in 2014, flashed back in 2015 as a potential number two receiver meshing with Andrew Luck but has quickly fallen out of favor with the Colts over the last two years with injuries and lack of production. He doesn’t appear to be in any of the Colts future plans but the potential is there with a change of scenery.
- Jordan Matthews
Matthews was pretty much a non-factor this year for the Bills after coming over from the Eagles via trade. The Bills didn’t target wide receivers too often and he finished the year on IR. There is a history of production here with over 800 receiving yards in each of his three seasons with the Eagles so he could be worth a look.
- Cody Latimer
Latimer, a former 2nd round pick of the Broncos has done next to nothing in his career but I think there is still potential there and if it works you get the added bonus of sticking it to a rival.
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- Jordy Nelson
The large contract given by the Packers to Davante Adams almost assures the end of Jordy’s run in Green Bay. He is clearly not the player he once was but he would be a great veteran addition for Carr at the right price.
- Eric Decker
Decker came on late in the year as a go-to weapon for Marcus Mariota showing he still has something left. Like Jordy, he would give an excellent veteran presence to that receiving corps.
- Anthony Miller
Former walk-on Anthony Miller was tremendously productive at Memphis and would be a nice Day 2 pick.
- Hunter Renfrow
Known for his game-winning touchdown catch for Clemson against Alabama in last year’s championship game, Renfrow projects as a prototypical slot receiver and could provide a long-term answer in the slot.
- Jordan Lasley
Lasley was Josh Rosen’s favorite target at UCLA and finished the year with a bang showing he’s ready to play on Sundays.