The Raiders completely overhauled their receiver corps last season.
It didn’t take.
Dramatic moves blew up in the Raiders’ face, one after another. Antonio Brown went nuclear. Tyrell Williams hurt his feet early and they never got right. Ryan Grant was ineffective. J.J. Nelson was unavailable too often for Jon Gruden’s taste. In-season attempts to fix the problem also failed. Trevor Davis didn’t stick around. Zay Jones never gained Derek Carr’s trust.
It wasn’t all disaster. Hunter Renfrow proved a quality pro working from the slot. Williams was a good player when healthy.
There’s no doubt, however, that the Raiders need to upgrade the position significantly for the second straight year.
The biggest addition is coming through the NFL draft. Take that to the freaking bank.
The Raiders have two first-round picks and three third-round selections. They’ll get one receiver in that group, maybe two.
That didn’t stop the Raiders from adding a veteran in the latter portion of free agency. They agreed on terms of a contract with former Philadelphia Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor, a league source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Saturday afternoon.
The USC product and 2015 first-round pick underwhelmed during his time in Philadelphia, with disappointing returns in every year save 2017. He had 77 catches for 935 yards and eight touchdowns that year. He has 24 career drops, per analytics site Pro Football Focus, a number that won’t instantly endear him to the Raiders’ fan base.
He had a down year in 2019 while dealing with a knee injury that wouldn’t go away, and finished with 363 yards and three touchdowns on 39 catches.
Agholor would be a solid No. 4 receiver, with Williams and a draft pick on the outside and Renfrow in the slot. Don’t forget the Raiders are loaded at tight end, with Darren Waller and Jason Witten both accomplished pass catchers.
We shouldn’t just assume Agholor will be part of the starting lineup, with the guys on the roster and draft additions coming up. Taking a flier on a first-round talent is a low-risk, possibly high-reward proposition that falls in line with what Jon Gruden likes to do in the latter stages of free agency. Get a talented player and coach him up.
It was uncertain until recently whether the Raiders would wade into the receiver market. The position’s draft class is unreal, with quality available well into the middle rounds. That put a damper on the free-agent market, with only Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb signing multi-year deals through Thursday. Emmanuel Sanders got a decent sum from the New Orleans Saints on Friday. We don’t immediately know Agholor’s contract terms, but it would be shocking if they’re high.
This is a move to add depth, experience and talent to a position group that needs all three.