Seth Roberts

Seth Roberts, former Raiders wide receiver, signs contract with Ravens

Seth Roberts, former Raiders wide receiver, signs contract with Ravens

Seth Roberts has found a new home. The former Raiders wide receiver signed a one-year contract with the Ravens on Monday. 

"I'm glad to be a Raven. Can't wait!" Roberts said in a message to Ravens fans. 

Roberts was released by the Raiders on Thursday. The 28-year-old was set to make $4.5 million in 2019, the final year of a three-year deal he signed under former GM Reggie McKenzie. 

[RELATED: Antonio Brown torches JuJu Smith-Schuster over late-season fumble]

The Raiders signed Roberts in 2014 as an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama University. He didn't play any games that year but became the team's primary slot receiver in 2015. 

Over four seasons with the Raiders, Roberts caught 158 passes for 1,826 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Raiders release Seth Roberts after overhauling wide receiver corps

Raiders release Seth Roberts after overhauling wide receiver corps

The Raiders have released receiver Seth Roberts, a source told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday morning.

The transaction became official later in the day, roughly 24 hours after the Raiders signed veteran wide receiver Ryan Grant.

Roberts was set to make a $4.45 million base salary in 2019, the final season of a three-year contract extension signed under previous general manager Reggie McKenzie.

It creates $4.8 million in salary-cap space, though the Raiders had some wiggle room there.

The Raiders have undergone a complete receiver overhaul, with Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson and Grant coming aboard since last month. Jordy Nelson and Roberts have been shown the door, and Martavis Bryant and Brandon LaFell aren’t expected back, making Marcell Ateman the most productive 2018 receiver to remain with the club.

Roberts made his own way with the Raiders, earning a prominent role after joining the Silver and Black as a 2014 undrafted free agent. He was the team’s primary slot receiver from 2015-17, and while he was plagued by inconsistency, Roberts had several clutch catches. The Raiders were virtually unbeaten when Roberts scored a touchdown, and he caught several game winners himself.

That earned him a contract extension before the 2017 season that included guarantees in that year and the next, but the Raiders were allowed to release him this year without dead money attached.

[RELATED: Derek Carr raves about Raiders' new acquisitions]

Roberts wasn’t held in as high regard under coach Jon Gruden, but he still produced career highs with 45 catches for 484 yards last season. He had drop issues in 2016, but they improved in recent seasons, though his completion percentage when targeted was never sky high.

Roberts isn’t expected to be unemployed long, with size and experience that will be attractive to teams as offseason programs get going across the NFL.

Raiders must use 2019 NFL draft, free agency to overhaul wide receiver corps

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USATSI

Raiders must use 2019 NFL draft, free agency to overhaul wide receiver corps

CINCINNATI -- The Raiders started 2018 with an excellent receiver corps. On paper, anyway.

Amari Cooper was the No. 1 guy. Jordy Nelson added experience, leadership and just maybe more speed than people thought. Martavis Bryant was going to stretch the field. Ryan Switzer would be an ideal slot man. Seth Roberts was available in reserve.

Then the season began, and the whole thing fell apart.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden quickly grew tired of Switzer and shipped him to Pittsburgh. Bryant was cut before the regular season and then brought back, but he never got into the flow of Gruden’s offense.

Cooper controversially was traded to Dallas. Nelson’s knee got bruised.

The Raiders scrambled to fill spots, with weapons constantly rotating in and out around quarterback Derek Carr.

Gruden isn’t attached to any receiver still on the roster, meaning a complete reconstruction could be in store. They certainly need a new No. 1 receiver, and some help at most positions as the Raiders try to improve Carr’s supporting cast.

This offense can be dynamic with Gruden and Carr working well together, especially with weapons on the outside and in the slot.

Players likely to stay in 2019

Marcell Ateman: The seventh-round draft pick has had some big moments since being forced into action after the Amari Cooper trade. He hasn’t been great, and has a ton to learn about how to function in Gruden’s system, but there’s potential there. The Oklahoma State alum could be a productive red-zone target and someone who can make plays without blazing speed.

Dwayne Harris: He's an unrestricted free agent, but he could come back reasonably priced next year. He’s a solid return man. That’s valuable, even with so many kickoffs becoming touchbacks.

Keon Hatcher: He could stick around -- for training camp, at least -- and fight for a place on the 2019 53-man roster.

Players likely to go

Jordy Nelson: The veteran receiver is set to make $7.2 million in base salary and roster bonuses next season, though it isn’t guaranteed and there’s no dead money attached if he were to be cut.

Carr and Gruden have lauded Nelson’s locker-room presence, but they could get a younger, more dynamic receiver for that freight. They also have money to spare, so the Raiders could keep him around as a mentor and reliable presence in the clutch. It’s not a mortal lock, but it’s certainly possible Nelson will spend just one year in Silver and Black. Time will tell on this one.

Martavis Bryant: The talented receiver has ideal size and speed, but he never fit with Gruden or his offense. Gruden often criticized him in public and dubbed Bryant the “white tiger” for rarely being available on the practice field.

None of that matters more than Friday’s development, in which Bryant was suspended indefinitely by the NFL for violating the terms of his conditional reinstatement from a one-year ban as a repeat offender of the league’s substance abuse policy.

Gruden gave up a third-round pick for Bryant, a high price for a failed experiment.

Seth Roberts: He might not be here now, if not for having a guaranteed salary in 2018. Roberts was down on the depth chart until attrition brought him back. He still isn’t a heavily targeted option despite all these injuries, which is something to note. Roberts is set to make $4.45 million next year, but he could be cut free and clear. That contract might be too pricey for him to stick around, though Carr could use some continuity in the receiver room.

Brandon LaFell: The Raiders loved having LaFell around. He’s a consummate pro, someone with reliable hands who does all the little things right. I believe they would’ve brought him back, if not for him suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in Week 11. It generally takes 11 calendar months to recover from such an injury, meaning he wouldn’t be ready until midseason 2019 at the earliest.

That puts him out of the running for an offseason deal.

Raiders potential offseason plan

Free agency: The Raiders have money to burn on this position, and should import at least one veteran presence to the group. A slot receiver couldn’t hurt, either.

One problem: The 2019 free agent receiver class stinks. There’s no truly dominant options available because teams don’t let dominant No. 1's walk. They don’t trade them either (cough, cough).

There should be some veteran options with high production potential, though. Golden Tate might be the biggest fish, even at age 30. He has several 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, is durable as heck and would step off the plane as the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver. His price will be high, but the contract length might not be that long.

Larry Fitzgerald seems like a player Gruden would simply love -- think of a post-49ers Jerry Rice in Silver and Black -- but Fitzgerald said this summer he’ll only play for the Cardinals.

The Raiders could use some funds on Donte Moncrief or Qunicy Enunwa, guys who could thrive with an accurate quarterback. Geronimo Allison is an intriguing young player, but he'll be a restricted free agent. It might not be worth overpaying to get him.

Draft: Unlike the free agent crop, the 2019 NFL draft class is loaded with quality receivers. There are so many good ones, value could be had outside the first round, where the Raiders could find a future No. 1 or a speed demon to stretch the field.

There’s some discrepancy among draft analysts about positional rankings, but Mississippi’s A.J. Brown often is considered the top talent.

The Raiders might be interested in N.C. State’s Kelvin Harmon, a tough receiver with quality hands and solid route running ability.

Stanford’s J.J. Arcega-Whiteside sounds like a Gruden-type receiver, a big-bodied player drawing Mike Evans comparisons.

Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown isn’t very big, but is a speed demon who can stretch the field and make dynamic plays. Opinions vary on N’Keal Harry, but he’s a big, reliable target who could be worth a high pick.

Bottom line: If the Raiders let most of their current receivers go as expected, they’ll need to retool the group with diverse skill sets to help Derek Carr move the chains and the ball downfield. They should sign a veteran, even if they keep Nelson, and draft one or two to improve a group that has fallen on hard times.