Zay Jones trade is Raiders' latest attempt to improve wide receivers corps

Zay Jones trade is Raiders' latest attempt to improve wide receivers corps

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr completed 25 passes Sunday in a 24-21 victory over the Chicago Bears. Only seven of them were caught by wide receivers.

Those receptions went for 65 yards, and one catch got punched out just inches from the goal line.

That sums up the state of the Raiders receiver corps, ailing without Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson and Dwayne Harris versus the Bears.

The Raiders also felt compelled to make another move to strengthen this position group. They added Zay Jones from Buffalo, a source said Monday. They acquired Davis for a 2021 fifth-round draft pick, and will integrate him during this week’s bye.

It’s a sign that the Raiders are still trying to get more from a position once considered an overwhelming team strength. That was back with Antonio Brown was on the roster, with Williams as the No. 2.

Brown was gone just before the regular season, leaving in a mushroom cloud. Ryan Grant was ineffective enough to get cut, and Williams has been dealing with a foot injury after tallying four touchdowns in as many games. Nelson had a strong start to training camp, but has battled ankle and leg injuries since mid-August.

It’s unknown at this time if the Jones acquisition suggests one of the ailing receivers will be down a while -- Gruden said he hoped Williams would be back after the bye, though Nelson's in an unknown injury state after some recent setbacks -- but it’s crystal clear the Raiders aren’t getting enough from the position group. 

This marks the third receiver trade since March. They gave up 2019 third and fifth round picks for Brown. They traded a 2020 sixth-round pick to Green Bay for Trevor Davis. Now they’ve given up another pick for Jones.

The trade, and its corresponding roster subtraction, has not been formally announced. It’s possible Marcell Ateman simply returns to the practice squad after a quick promotion for the Bears game.

Fans are tired of hearing about Brown, but that failed attempt to add an elite talent still is felt around here from a football perspective. He was supposed to be an offensive centerpiece, and was cut right before the season. The Raiders had to adjust on the fly from a schematic perspective.

And, if they could’ve predicted the Brown blowup, they obviously would’ve added another receiver, likely high in the NFL draft.

Now they’re left to retool that position group while surging to a 3-2 record and renewed optimism about the season. The Raiders are also getting quality production from the line, tight ends, running backs and Carr. Doing better at wideout would help this offense become more complete.

Can Jones help out when the Raiders play again in a Week 7 clash at Green Bay? Let’s take a closer look.

He stands 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, with 92 catches for 1,057 yards and nine touchdowns over two-plus seasons. He had seven TDs last year while averaging 11.6 yards per catch. Bills fans seem happy to see him go, flooding my timeline with videos of his drops. He has struggled in that area, with eight drops, per Pro Football Focus, though he hasn’t been credited with one this year.

Jones has only caught 50 percent of his targets, and just 43.9 percent of his targets this season. That’s not a good sum, and hasn’t been an active member of the Bills offense through five games.

[RELATED: Does this hypothetical Diggs deal make sense for Raiders?]

The 24-year-old played just one offensive snap in a Sunday loss to Tennessee.

Jones will have an opportunity to contribute quickly to the Raiders, who are looking for more from a receiver corps that has dealt with significant adversity already in this young season.

Raiders' Keelan Doss enjoying 'unorthodox' NFL journey amid inactive streak

Raiders' Keelan Doss enjoying 'unorthodox' NFL journey amid inactive streak

ALAMEDA -- The start to Keelan Doss' NFL career has been unique, to say the least. 

After going undrafted out of the University of California-Davis, Doss was signed by the Raiders and impressed early on in OTAs and training camp. The Alameda native became a fan favorite during the Raiders' run on HBO's "Hard Knocks," but eventually he was cut and signed on the Jaguars' practice squad. 

Doss' time away from the Raiders didn't last long, as he was given a $300K signing bonus along with the $495K salary to take Antonio Brown's spot on the roster after the star receiver demanded his release before Week 1. 

The rookie wideout was active from Weeks 2-7, totaling six catches for 79 yards as the receiver-starved Raiders tried to reshape their offense on the fly. Doss showed some promise in games against the Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, but he has been inactive for the past four games, with newcomer Zay Jones and Marcell Ateman getting the nod to suit up. 

No player likes to sit on the sideline as his team battles for a playoff spot, but the rookie is taking everything in stride, focusing on getting better to earn his way onto the field. 

"I've just been in practice really just focusing on my game," Doss told NBC Sports Bay Area."The tools I know I can use when I do get in a position to play. Obviously it's tough just watching the team and everything, but at the end of the day I have to get better every day and that's what I continue to try to do."

"Just consistency, just every day," Doss continued. "I know my ability and what I can do. When I get an opportunity to go in I just have to continue to make plays like I have been and was when I was in the game."

[RELATED: Gruden enjoying Jacobs' success after Mack trade criticism

Not being able to contribute on Sundays has been tough, and his NFL journey has had more early twists and turns than most undrafted rookies. 

Still, Doss is happy to be a Raider and is taking each new curve with a positive attitude. 

"I couldn't make it up, you know what I mean?" Doss said about his first NFL season. "It's obviously unorthodox, but at the same time, I feel like God puts me in a position and I can handle it. I've enjoyed it. You've got to live in the moment, so that's what I try to do."

After three straight wins, the 6-4 Raiders will travel to New York on Sunday to face the Jets as they look to cement their foothold in the AFC playoff race. 

Doss will continue to hone his craft and be ready to make plays for the Silver and Black should they need him down the stretch. 

Raiders injury report: Lamarcus Joyner's status vs. Jets uncertain

Raiders injury report: Lamarcus Joyner's status vs. Jets uncertain

ALAMEDA – Raiders slot cornerback Lamarcus Joyner stretched with his team to start Wednesday’s practice, a light session conducted without helmets.

The veteran cover man did some work during the portion open to the press, but he apparently didn’t do much after that.

He was formally considered a non-participant on the team’s practice report, which is an estimation considering the workout was only a walk-through.

The Raiders have moved lighter sessions to Wednesday, with intensity ratcheting up on Thursday and then down a bit Friday.

Coach Jon Gruden didn’t say much about Joyner’s health status after he missed a Week 11 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals due to a hamstring injury from the previous game.

“He got in some work,” Gruden said. “… We weren’t doing much today, as you could see, in terms of full-speed work. We got a lot of reps today. I’m hopeful that he’ll be ready to play, but we’ll see how it goes when we lather them up [Thursday].”

Nevin Lawson assumed Joyner’s role against Cincinnati and was solid in the high-priced veteran’s place.

The Raiders obviously need one of their defensive captains healthy as soon as possible, as they push to make a playoff run. It’s uncertain, though unlikely, that Joyner can come back to play the Jets.

Oakland would like him back the following week against the Kansas City Chiefs, which could be a showdown for AFC West supremacy.

David Sharpe wasn’t available with a calf strain, though starting right tackle Trent Brown continues to play through knee issues.

The Raiders conducted a walk-through practice Wednesday. Therefore, the following participation report is an estimation.

[RELATED: Gruden enjoying Jacobs' success after Mack trade criticism]

Raiders practice report

Did not practice
CB Lamarcus Joyner (hamstring)
OT David Sharpe (calf)

Limited practice
RB Josh Jacobs (shoulder)
C Rodney Hudson (ankle)
OT Trent Brown (knee)