Raiders Will Have Options At WR In Free Agency

The Raiders will be active in free agency (again) this year and do they have any position in greater need of an overhaul than wide receiver? Rod Streater (RFA), Andre Holmes (RFA), and Denarius Moore (UFA) are all free agents. Expect Holmes and Streater to hang around, but Moore? Not so much.

Here are 12 free agent options general manager Reggie McKenzie will consider. Really just 10 since the first two won’t likely hit free agency…

  1. Demaryius Thomas, 27: There’s no way Denver is letting Thomas get away. If no new contract, he’ll be worthy of the franchise tag – which the Broncos can afford. No need to waste time analyzing Thomas (but he is awfully good at what he does).
  2. Dez Bryant, 26: Like Thomas in Denver, the Cowboys can’t afford to lose Bryant. Whatever way it happens, rest assured that it will. Dez isn’t leaving Dallas.
  3. Randall Cobb, 24: Green Bay will want to keep Cobb, but they won’t want to overpay. Reggie McKenzie also doesn’t like to overpay. But he may not be able to afford missing on Cobb – and that’ll mean overpaying a guy he drafted in Green Bay. If there’s one free agent I expect Reggie to throw outrageous money at, it’s Cobb. If he’s open to the idea of coming to Oakland, my hunch is that Cobb’s most lucrative offer will come from the Raiders.
  4. Jeremy Maclin, 26: The Eagles want (and need) to keep Maclin and I think he wants to stay. He’s the fourth best receiver on the market and has the playmaking ability the Raiders desperately need. Maclin bet on himself with a one-year deal last year and he’s ready to cash in. Is he more valuable to Oakland than he would be to Philadelphia? My feeling is that the Eagles are ready to match (or come close) any offer Maclin receives and he won’t be changing his address any time soon.
  5. Torrey Smith, 25: An intriguing option because of his speed – something the Raiders need. Smith had 1,128 receiving yards in 2013, but inexplicably dropped off in 2014. His 767 receiving yards this year was the worst of his four-year career. This could be a tough sell for Reggie McKenzie because Smith grew up not far from Baltimore, played college football at Maryland, and was drafted by the Ravens. He says he wants to stay home and Baltimore has reportedly offered him 5 years, $35 million ($19M guaranteed). If the Raiders want Torrey to move across the country, they’ll have to offer substantially more.
  6. Cecil Shorts, 27: Shorts had a promising second season, but has been in recent decline partly because of injuries. Still young and explosive, it’s been suggested that he could fetch upwards of a four-year, $37 million deal. Also, there’s no way he’ll get more than Torrey Smith assuming Smith doesn’t give Baltimore a discount. That said, Shorts is an intriguing option because of his playmaking abilities and the Raiders new up-tempo offense.
  7. Michael Crabtree, 27: The Raiders once drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey over Crabtree. As it turns out, Crabtree was better. He hasn’t been the playmaker San Francisco hoped he’d be. After six seasons, he’s recorded just one 1,000 yard season. Also, @KingCrab15 has removed the 49ers from his twitter bio. Good riddance, San Francisco?
  8. Eddie Royal, 28: Not a popular man in Oakland, Royal’s best season was his rookie year. He’s never produced a 1,000-yard season. For the money, it might make more sense for the Raiders to pay someone like Dallas’ Cole Beasley, who’s just 25 years-old.
  9. Cole Beasley, 25: Beasley caught 26 passes in the Cowboys’ final seven games and Derek Carr could use a quick-hitting target. Beasley could be a sneaky-good signing for someone and could come to Oakland with an opportunity to move up the depth chart – especially with the roster as it is. Also, doesn’t Beasley seem like the kind of player McKenzie would go after? Like Streater and Holmes, Beasley is a restricted free agent so the cap-strapped Cowboys could theoretically match any offer for their no. 4 receiving option.
  10. Kenny Britt, 26: Britt has personal baggage, but he’s still young and had a sneaky-good season in 2014. In 13 starts, Britt had 48 receptions for 748 yards – the second-best year of his career.
  11. Hakeem Nicks, 27: It seems like he should be older, but Nicks is only 27. The 2009 first-round pick has struggled the past three years and doesn’t seem like the solution to any problems in Oakland. But who knows, maybe another change of scenery could jump start his career? No. I don’t think so, either.
  12. Wes Welker, 33: He’s old, but he’s still catching passes. I’d rather have Beasley at this point in his career, but maybe Welker is an option. Either way, I don’t see Welker hopping on the first train to Oakland. He’d probably prefer to make one final early playoff exit with Peyton Manning.

I’m expecting Randall Cobb to be McKenzie’s top target (on either side of the ball) in free agency. It’s not in McKenzie’s DNA to draft a wide receiver in the first round, but you can bet he (and that Davis fellow) will make sure Carr has a playmaker to catch the football – maybe even two. Once Bryant and Thomas are off the board, Cobb is arguably the only elite WR left – and we all know how McKenzie loves his former Packers.

Go get him, Reg.