Raiders

NFL free agency: Tyrell Williams signs reported $44M Raiders contract

NFL free agency: Tyrell Williams signs reported $44M Raiders contract

The Raiders receiver corps fell into disrepair last season, after Amari Cooper was traded, Jordy Nelson was battling knee issue and several veteran subs ended up on injured reserve.

A complete positional overhaul was required. That has happened quickly, with two major additions in a less than a week.

The Raiders traded for elite receiver Antonio Brown on Saturday night. Then they agreed on terms of a contract with former L.A. Chargers wideout Tyrell Williams, a soure confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area. ESPN's Adam Schefter was first to report the news. The Raiders made the deal official Wednesday night.

Schefter reports the Raiders are giving Williams a four-year contract worth $44 million.

Williams was one of the top receivers available in free agency. He’s 6-foot-4, 205 pounds and runs like the wind. He had a 1,000-yard season in 2015 and has produced steadily ever since. He had 41 catches for 653 yards and five touchdowns on 65 targets, and averaged 15.9 yards per reception.

He’s a dynamic No. 2 option behind Brown, a clear-cut No. 1, and one of the NFL’s best receivers. The Raiders passing game has the talent required to produce steadily and show vast improvement over a 2018 unit devoid of speed outside tight end Jared Cook that averaged just 234 yards per game.

Nelson would be a solid No. 3 if he is retained. The Raiders paid his 2019 roster bonus in the 2018 season. The team would save $3.5 million in cap space but incur $1.8 million in dead money. His salary becomes fully guaranteed on Friday.

[RELATED: Raiders, Kyler Murray reportedly to meet before 2019 draft]

The Raiders could also let Seth Roberts go this offseason. He’s scheduled to make $4.65 million in 2019, and none of it is guaranteed.

The Brown-Williams combination is dangerous in its own right, and gives quarterback Derek Carr excellent weapons in the pattern. It looks better (on paper, anyway) that the Michael Crabtree-Amari Cooper duo from 2016, when both guys exceeded 1,000 yards.

Raiders' Rodney Hudson ranked among best interior linemen in ESPN poll

Raiders' Rodney Hudson ranked among best interior linemen in ESPN poll

The Raiders have seen massive roster turnover over the past few seasons since coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock took over control of the organization.

But one stalwart throughout the adapting lineup has been veteran center Rodney Hudson. And with good reason, as ESPN recently ranked Hudson as the sixth-best interior offensive lineman in the NFL.

Anyone who has followed the Raiders over the past half-decade can tell you that Hudson has been an impeccable leader of the team's entire offensive linemen, helping run the offense along with quarterback Derek Carr.

[RELATED: Bill Callahan's 'dumbest team in America' rant sealed his Raiders fate]

Hudson has been especially proficient in pass protection, where he ranked either first or second every season in Pro Football Focus' pass-blocking grades from 2014-19. The Florida State product also came in at No. 99 on PFF's All-Decade top 101.

Hudson signed a three-year, $33.75 million extension with the Raiders in Aug. of 2019, making him the highest-paid center in the NFL. Given all the evidence above, Hudson clearly has earned it with his play for the Silver and Black.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Raiders' Henry Ruggs had lowest drop rate among first-round receivers

Raiders' Henry Ruggs had lowest drop rate among first-round receivers

Henry Ruggs had plenty of qualities that warranted being the first wide receiver off the board in April's draft.

Top-of-the-line speed, eye-popping athleticism and solid production at one of the nation's best collegiate programs made Ruggs an easy choice for Raiders general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden.

Pro Football Focus provided more evidence to support Ruggs' case, as he ended his time at Alabama with the lowest drop rate among the six wideouts taken in this year's first round.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

The speedster averaged 19.5 yards per touch over his junior season, making the most of every opportunity with the Crimson Tide in 2019. Although he caught just 40 passes last season, seven went for touchdowns, with Ruggs adding a 75-yard touchdown run (pass was caught behind the line of scrimmage) during a win over New Mexico State.

[RELATED: Would Raiders have won SB XXXVII if Robbins had played?]

Over his entire career in Tuscaloosa, 24 of his 98 receptions resulted in touchdowns.

The Raiders will need Ruggs' sure hands right away, as quarterback Derek Carr hopes to get the Raiders off to a strong start in the franchise's inaugural season in Las Vegas.