Robby Anderson

Why Panthers signing Robby Anderson is bad for Raiders, 49ers' draft plans

Why Panthers signing Robby Anderson is bad for Raiders, 49ers' draft plans

Another big free-agent domino fell Tuesday when the Carolina Panthers agreed to sign wide receiver Robby Anderson to a two-year, $20 million contract. 

The Panthers, who supposedly are entering a full rebuild under new head coach Matt Rhule, added to one of their most glaring needs, giving new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a No. 1 receiver. The Panthers' signing of Anderson was bad news for the New York Jets, who were hoping to bring the receiver back, and tangentially for the Raiders and 49ers. 

As we head toward the 2020 NFL Draft, the Raiders (No. 12 overall pick) and the 49ers (No. 13 overall pick) both are looking to draft an elite wide receiver from a loaded class. Over the last few months, it has looked like both Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb and Alabama's Jerry Jeudy could be available when the Raiders go on the clock at No. 12, giving Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock their pick of the litter and leaving the 49ers to take the best receiver left on the board. 

That all assumed that the Jets, who pick at No. 11, would draft an offensive tackle to keep Sam Darnold from getting beaten up for the third season in a row. This draft is as tackle heavy as it is receiver heavy at the top, with Louisville's Mekhi Becton, Iowa's Tristan Wirfs, Alabama's Jedrick Wills and Georgia's Andrew Thomas all expected to be top-20 picks. 

But, Anderson leaving the Big Apple to team up with his old college coach in Carolina gives the Jets a need that is as pressing as the one at left tackle. With Anderson gone, the Jets' only receivers are Breshad Perriman -- who they agreed to a one-year contract with Tuesday -- Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, Braxton Berrios and Quincy Enuwa, along with assorted special teams and practice squad players. 

If you thought the Raiders' receiving corps last year was bad, this group is a whole lot worse. 

The Jets now will have to choose which position they think is more valuable to the development of their franchise quarterback -- wide receiver or left tackle?

In NBC Sports Bay Area's current mock draft, Dalton Johnson and I have the Jets taking Lamb, and that was before the Anderson signing. That had more to do with our infatuation for the Oklahoma receiver than the Jets' need at the position. But with Anderson and his 52 catches, 779 yards and five touchdowns now gone, the Jets have to get Darnold some playmakers on the outside or else he will be doomed to fail. 

If Jets head coach Adam Gase elects to take Lamb or Jeudy, that would give the Raiders the one left standing and have the 49ers choose between drafting Alabama's Henry Ruggs or trading down.

Make no mistake, Ruggs, who ran a 4.27 40 at the NFL Scouting Combine, is a prize unto himself. He's a dynamic downfield threat and a versatile weapon who can strike from anywhere. But he is just a tick below Lamb and Jeudy in my eyes. 

Another thing pushing the Jets the way of receiver and not left tackle is that Gang Green agreed to sign former Seattle Seahawks tackle George Fant in free agency. Fant, 27, was used as the sixth offensive lineman in Seattle, but he told KNJR in Seattle that he is coming to New York to play left tackle

“I made it very clear that I wanted to play that position at the end of the season,” Fant said, via Newsday. “That was a huge part of me making this decision to go there. I feel like that’s home for me. I feel like left tackle is the best position for me. Now it’s to the point where I’m ready to go out there and prove it and just go out there and do my job and try to help this team win games.”

[RELATED: How free-agent signings impact Raiders' draft plan]

Of course, the Jets still could take Wills or Thomas and put Fant at right tackle and address receiver later on in the draft. That might be the smarter choice in the long run. But, this is the Jets we are talking about. 

Anderson's departure appears to make it all the more likely the Jets go wideout at No. 11. That will leave the Raiders and 49ers hoping no other team in the top 10 goes wide receiver and they can still gobble up the remaining two of Lamb, Jeudy and Ruggs. 

NFL free agency 2020: Tom Brady, other players who could get overpaid

NFL free agency 2020: Tom Brady, other players who could get overpaid

With NFL free agency set to begin Monday, last season finally can be put to rest.

Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs still are champions and the 49ers still blew a 10-point lead in Super Bowl LIV, but it's time to move forward. Teams will look to make a splash by signing big names. However, that could come with some risky contracts. 

[RELATED: Ranking top 30 players set to hit open market]

While I always will be one for players getting as much money as possible instead of it going into the owners' pockets, here are five players teams might overpay this offseason. 

Austin Hooper, TE

Hooper made his second straight Pro Bowl in 2019 and statistically had his best season yet last year. The 25-year-old had career-highs in receptions (75), receiving yards (787) and touchdowns (6) in 13 regular-season games. 

But a little less than 76 percent of his production has come on routes through holes in a zone or underneath the defense. The former Stanford product is young and productive. Is he a star? 

One team probably will pay him like one.

Robby Anderson, WR

Anderson, 26, is a downfield threat who averaged 15 yards per reception last season. Over four seasons on the New York Jets, he has averaged 52 receptions for 765 yards and five TDs per season. 

Is that a No. 1 or No. 2? He will want No. 1 money, that's for sure. He might be too one-dimensional, though. 

Shaquil Barrett, EDGE

Barrett, 27, is such an interesting case. The former undrafted free agent totaled 14 sacks in five seasons with the Denver Broncos. Last season, he led the league with 19.5 after signing a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Barrett was a steal last year. Will he be "overpaid" this time around? His timing couldn't have been better for a breakout season.

Jack Conklin, OT 

Conklin very well might be the best right tackle on the open market. He certainly is a big name looking for an even bigger contract. 

The Tennessee Titans letting the former No. 8 overall draft pick test the market should say a lot, though. Conklin is a solid run blocker, which helped running back Derrick Henry, but a below mediocre pass blocker. 

This is a passing league. Conklin might not be the perfect fit for a lot of teams.

Tom Brady, QB

This is where Stugotz would stop me. The Brady Army is going to come after me, but hear me out. Please. 

Brady has been highly underpaid throughout his career. That's just a fact. This also is a QB who turns 43 years old in August and is coming off a season where he completed only 60.8 percent of his pass attempts and averaged only 6.6 yards per attempt with a 3.9 touchdown percentage. 

Brady is no Average Joe and still is an amazing QB for his age. Tom Terrific isn't the right nickname anymore, though. Go get paid Tolerable Tom.

Jon Gruden hints at possible receiver move as NFL trade deadline nears

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USATSI

Jon Gruden hints at possible receiver move as NFL trade deadline nears

ALAMEDA -- The Raiders have had a revolving door at wide receiver so far this season, and it might not be stopping anytime soon.

Jon Gruden's club entered training camp with what appeared to be a glut of talent out wide, headlined by Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams. Brown since has been released by both the Raiders and the Patriots, and Williams has missed Oakland's last two games with a case of plantar fasciitis.

The Raiders signed undrafted rookie Keelan Doss to a guaranteed contract after Brown was jettisoned, and since have traded for both Trevor Davis and Zay Jones while cutting J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant.

You keeping up?

The Raiders dressed just four wide receivers -- Davis, Doss, Hunter Renfrow and Marcell Ateman -- in Week 7 against the Packers.

With the NFL trade deadline approaching, the Raiders reportedly have interest in Jets receiver Robby Anderson. Josh Gordon, whom the Patriots placed on injured reserve and plan to release when he is healthy, also could be an option for Gruden's club once the receiver is made available. 

While all the moving parts have made for a disjointed passing game, the Raiders coach hinted the carousel might keep going.

"I think so," Gruden said Friday when asked if Williams would be able to go Sunday in Houston against the Texans. "We got a good look at Tyrell this week -- he's got a chance. And Zay Jones is getting better. So, we might make more changes at wide receiver. We're good at that." 

Williams' return and Jones' debut should, in theory, give Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr the option to open the Raiders' offense a bit more than they have been able to in recent weeks.

Jones was acquired by the Raiders in a trade with the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago, and he has received a crash course in Gruden's complex offense. Even with Jones sleeping with his playbook, it's a tall task to ask him to master the system in a short period of time.

"You know the tough part for us is we've only been dressing four wide receivers -- I don't know if anyone has noticed that," Gruden said. "So, the fourth guy has to be able to play multiple positions as a backup. In fairness to Zay, it's hard to learn one position in a week, let alone three. He has really done a great job, I can't tell you how happy I am with him and [receivers coach] Edgar Bennett and all these young receivers for coming in here and getting ready to play on short notice."

The NFL trade deadline is Tuesday, so if the Raiders do want to grab Anderson or another receiver on the market, they will have to act fast. 

At 3-3, the Raiders find themselves in the playoff hunt, with Sunday's trip to Houston looking like a crucial pivot point for Gruden's club. A win over Deshaun Watson and the Texans would give the Raiders a 4-3 record and a 3-2 mark during their daunting five-game road trip, with three games at the Coliseum coming up.

A win in Houston could entice Gruden to either part with a draft pick for a guy like Anderson or try and sign a guy like Gordon once he hits waivers.

[RELATED: Could Raiders get pass-rush help from Jordan, Beasley?]

Either way, it appears the Raiders' receiving corps isn't done evolving.