ESPN.com AFC West blogger Bill Williamson stated, “[he didn’t] think the Raiders should make receiver a priority position.”
Yes Marques Colston (Saints), Dwayne Bowe (Chiefs) and Vincent Jackson (Chargers) are some very nice targets that could be changing teams. Adding any of those guys to any receiving unit, especially with a passer of Carson Palmer’s capabilities, would be in instant upgrade.
But the Oakland Raiders are in no position to spend heavily at that position.
This team’s aerial attack would look a lot better with a solid route runner and possession receiver who can work short and intermediate routes and navigate the middle of the field to move the chains. But neither of the above mentioned guys will be options for the frugal Reggie McKenzie, who will need to get clever to get the Silver & Black’s cap situation right and retain a few of their key components.
Wes Welker (Patriots) is not likely to go anywhere and other pricy options, like Mike Wallace (Steelers/restricted FA) and Desean Jackson (Eagles) will be out of Oakland’s reach.
Someone like Mario Manningham (Giants) may just priced himself at a higher bracket with a solid Super Bowl performance.
So considering the Raiders’ needs and limitations, who should they look at if they go after a receiver?
Early Doucet is strong, has steady hands and knows how to get open on shorter routes, as he’s worked with Larry Fitzgerald. Bryant Johnson is a big target and was deep in the Houston depth chart – would Greg Knapp push for someone he’s familiar with?
A favorite of mine is Jerricho Cotchery. He’s not a speedy target, but he is accustomed to working in the slot, making tough catches and finding all the soft spots in zones. He’ll be 30 prior to the start of the season and a very good presence for the younger receivers on the Raiders.
He’ll likely be cheap and if you want to know how important of a role he can play on a winning club, just look at what happened in New York when he asked to leave the team.
One thing I disagreed with in Williamson’ article was the “reliable” label for Louis Murphy.
That may be his biggest hindrance, along with Murphy’s inability to mature as a complete target. It must be tough also sitting behind Jacoby Ford, the Clemson speedster emerged two years ago, and Denarius Moore, a revelation in 2011, but when giving chances, he’s been up-and-down.
Darrius Heyward-Bey is not going anywhere, especially after posting career highs across the board and looking like a more refined target last campaign.
Moore and Ford are very similar and with a depleted draft class, it led me to state in early January that someone like Jacoby could be moved:
Chaz Schilens, like many from the old regime, will not be welcomed back, and rightfully.
Oakland’s receiving corps will have a new coach, but will they have a veteran addition to make the passing attack more efficient?