Back with the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver Nelson Agholor was known for his inability to consistently catch the football. He also earned the bust label by both the media and fans. For that reason, the news he signed with the Las Vegas Raiders this past offseason barely registered a blip.
Nelson Agholor started the 2020 season on a mission
This led to many surprised faces when ‘Nelly’ came away with a 23-yard touchdown catch against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. This, was an omen of things to come for the former first-round wideout, as he quickly became quarterback Derek Carr’s most trusted target in 2020.
— RL Sports (@_RLSports) September 13, 2020
The Raiders found a big-play machine
After the Panthers game, it took Agholor a few weeks to rediscover his playmaking ways. He was only able to muster one catch for 19 yards in Week 2 and two catches for 32 yards in a loss in Week 3. Against the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, he hauled in four receptions for 44 yards and one touchdown. In that game, he had a touchdown called back due to an illegal formation penalty.
Against the Chiefs, he had a 59-yard touchdown to help the Raiders edge the defending champs. Fortunately for this Las Vegas team, his best games were still ahead of him. In Week 6, he had his first 100-yard game for the Silver and Black. He had five catches for 107 yards and yet another touchdown against a stout Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.
Over the next six games, ’15’ turned his 18 catches into 248 yards and, again, was able to turn two Carr deep balls into scores against the Chargers and Chiefs. At this point, He was the Raiders de facto number one wide receiver. Hence, it wasn’t surprising to see him get 100 yards on five catches against the Colts. Two weeks later, he had his best game of the season against a stingy Miami Dolphins defense. In that contest, he tallied five receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.
— Tipico Sportsbook (@tipico) December 27, 2020
The season finale was much of the same and Agholor caught a 57-yard reception. He finished the 2020 season with 48 catches for 848 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Heading into the offseason, the Raiders will have to discuss whether they will re-sign him.
Instant connection with Derek Carr
The Raiders expected big things from both rookie wide receivers Bryan Edwards and Henry Ruggs III. Nevertheless, it was ‘Nelly’, who signed for only $1.4 million their best receiver this season. This is evident in plays like the long touchdown against Miami and the score he had the second time they played Kansas City. The connection between Carr and the receiver was obvious, as Agholor wastes no time in hightailing it down the field for the long catch and a score that put the Raiders up 14-7. These two consistently being on the same page gave Carr a wide receiver he had confidence in for the first time in several years, doing wonders for the offense.
.@derekcarrqb to Nelson Agholor 🎯
The @Raiders are up a score on the Chiefs!
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 23, 2020
Time to Talk Money
On the surface, it seems obvious the Raiders should Nelson an extension. Even Carr has been vocal about wanting him back. From the organization’s standpoint, however, it’s a tough discussion. Las Vegas is on the red and the team’s brass has many holes to fill, especially on the defensive side.
Having invested high draft picks in fellow receivers Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards in the most recent draft while also being tied to Tyrell Williams who is owed 11.6 million dollars this year. In all likelihood, the Raiders cut bait with Williams and offer some of that money to Agholor but there is also a scenario where Agholor can demand more money then Mayock and Gruden want to part with as every NFL team craves wide receivers with playmaking ability and the Nigerian born receiver has it in droves.
A Win For Both the Raiders and Agholor
The Raiders didn’t have the season they wanted, missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. Nevertheless, Agholor’s signing gave them a legit playmaker while rookies Ruggs and Edwards adjust to the NFL. The veteran wide receiver made himself a rich man with his play this year and surely boosted his confidence.
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Top Photo: Benjamin Hager Las Vegas Review-Journal