The Las Vegas Raiders’ 2020 free-agent class had its ups and downs, to say the least. That should motivate the front office to be more careful with their spending, especially with a limited cap floor.
Their decision-making also depends on whether or not Nelson Agholor stays with the team. If he doesn’t, the team may need to add a free-agent wide receiver in the open market. Nevertheless, here are three wide the Silver and Black should avoid in free agency.
In his first two seasons in the NFL, Smith-Schuster had 169 catches for 2,343 yards and a Pro Bowl nod. In the two years since, he has only amassed 1,383 yards. The dip in production can be partially explained by the instability at the quarterback position. Moreover, the USC product averaged a lowly 8.6 yards per reception in 2020. He is still only 24 years ago old with room for improvement but with his $16.1 million-per-year market value should be spent elsewhere.
Despite that, NFL insider John Clayton believes the Raiders are very interested in Smith-Schuster. On top of that, his Tik Tok antics reportedly bothered head coach Mike Tomlinson. Las Vegas can’t afford this kind of potential locker room distractions. The Steelers’ offense was very deserving of blame for their losing streak and playoff loss to Cleveland. Smith-Schuster had a hand in those losses therefore, putting him on a team with two straight collapses would be a mistake.
Green was a high-quality receiver in his prime, registering six 1,000-yard seasons in his first seven years. In 2019, there was talk about acquiring ’18’ at the trade deadline but the Raiders went with Zay Jones from Buffalo instead. His health also played a role as he only played nine games that year. Green will be 33 when the next season begins, which puts his production and availability in doubt. Head coach Gruden however, has a penchant for fancy veteran acquisitions like Jason Witten and Jordy Nelson.
Last season, Cincinnati’s offense had its moments with quarterback Joe Burrow under center. Nevertheless, Green was never able to click with the LSU product. A glaring stat to prove that was his catch percentage being a career-worst at 45.2 percent. The Raiders have been able to revive several careers (Darren Waller, Richie Incognito, and Agholor) but Green doesn’t seem to be worth the risk.
Willie Snead IV
Sneed had reached the 800-yard receiving milestone twice as a member of the New Orleans Saints. Even though his touchdown totals were low, he was a reliable target for quarterback Drew Brees. He then joined the Baltimore Ravens in 2018 and remained a lowkey target for Lamar Jackson. Alas, his role has gotten smaller since then. He racked up 651 yards in 2018, 339 in 2019, and 432 in 2020.
While adding someone of Snead’s caliber and price could make sense if Agholor walked in free agency, he doesn’t seem like a player the Raiders can rely on if Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards fail to meet expectations in 2021. Sneed may have good hands with a 67.1 catch percentage rate but there just isn’t enough evidence he can elevate the offense. The low number of touchdowns will concern the Raiders especially since one of the factors of their downfall came down to settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.
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