Why Raiders added Nelson Agholor to receiving corps in NFL free agency

Why Raiders added Nelson Agholor to receiving corps in NFL free agency

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.

[RELATED: Grading Raiders' best, worst moves in free agency thus far]

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. 

Why versatile rookie Lynn Bowden could be Raiders’ secret weapon

Why versatile rookie Lynn Bowden could be Raiders’ secret weapon

Word of warning to anyone wondering how the Raiders are preparing to utilize rookie Lynn Bowden this season: Don’t bother asking him. He isn’t at liberty to say.

“I’m really not permitted to speak about that right now,” Bowden said while taking a break from the Raiders virtual OTA’s.

The mum’s the word response wasn’t relayed out of anger or deceit. The outgoing Bowden can’t wait to get on the field in his first NFL season and is beyond excited to help the Raiders anyway he can. He’s open and frank about all that and doesn’t mind expressing it one bit.

Read more on Las Vegas Review-Journal

Trayvon Mullen has Drew Brees, Saints on bulletin board after comments

Trayvon Mullen has Drew Brees, Saints on bulletin board after comments

The New Orleans Saints' visit to Las Vegas on September 21 already was set to be a marquee game in the NFL with the Raiders set to debut Allegiant Stadium for the first time on "Monday Night Football."

The matchup with Drew Brees got another layer Wednesday after the Saints quarterback said he still saw players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police violence as "disrespecting the flag." Brees' comments came while millions of citizens across the country protest police brutality in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Brees posted a photo on Instagram supporting the Black Lives Matter movement Tuesday and then promptly showed he still didn't understand why former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem back in 2016.

As Brees' comments circulated, Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen made it known he's looking forward to facing Brees now more than ever with offensive tackle Trent Brown echoing the feeling.

Brees offered an apology for his "insensitive" comments Thursday saying he "missed the mark." While some have accepted Brees' apology, many around the NFL and sports world saw it as an apology for being dragged mercilessly on Twitter and television and not for his actual statement.

The conversation around Kaepernick's protest and taking a knee during the anthem has been reignited after Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, died in police custody after Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. A video showed Floyd telling Chauvin and three other officers who were watching that he couldn't breathe and asking for Chauvin to let up. It was later announced Floyd had died in police custody. Chauvin was arrested and has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree muder and second-degree manslaughter. The three other officers were arrested Wednesday and have been charged with aiding and abetting in both cases.

Kaepernick started taking a knee during the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality and systemic racism. He chose to take a knee in protest after a discussion with Nate Boyer, a former Green Beret, because he wanted to make sure he was protesting in a respectful manner. Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016.

Citizens have marched in protests in cities across American since Floyd's death, looking to put an end to police brutality and systemic racism. A number of NFL players have spoken out since Floyd's death, with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr vowing to no longer stick to sports as he tries to unite people.

[RELATED: Littleton, Kwiatkoski vital to Raiders' defensive renaissance]

Brees' comments drew warranted criticism from across the sports world, with fans, peers and teammates all chiming in to tell Brees how wrong he was on the issue of kneeling in protest during the national anthem.

The Raiders need to get off to a fast start in order to breathe life into a push for the playoffs. Brees has owned the Raiders in his career, but the Silver and Black added a lot of talent to a defense that ranked 31st in DVOA last year. A defense that will be led by a rising star corner in Mullen, who has this game circled.

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