It has been a long time coming for the Raiders with regards to their receiving corps. After every season, they are faced with a dearth of talent and depth at the position. But for the first time in ten years, they look to have a solid group with which to work.
The last time the Raiders could boast about their group of wide receivers, they were led by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice and likely future Hall of Famer Tim Brown. Those two had All Pro quarterback Rich Gannon throwing to them as well. It has been nearly a decade since that trio took the field in Silver and Black.
In the eight seasons between then and now, it has not been a pretty picture. Jerry Rice left in 2003 nearing the end of his storied career. The seven years between that season and this season looked like this:
One season with Jerry Porter out of the doghouse in which he just missed 1000 yards. One season of non-cancerous behavior from Randy Moss before he was back to whining, taking plays off, and tearing his own team down. Two seasons with Ronald Curry putting up lackluster numbers as the leading receiver. Equally unimpressive is the list of number two wide receivers, less than household names like Doug Gabriel, Alvis Whitted, Jonnie Lee Higgins, and Ashlie Lelie. Not to mention the epic failure that was the monstrous contract given to Javon Walker.
In the last three seasons the receivers were so bad, they took a backseat to the tight end.
The first season in which Zach Miller was the Raiders' leading receiver (2008), the team drafted Chaz Schilens in the seventh round. He played in every game that season and looked as if he had the potential to be the next star receiver for the Raiders. But the next two seasons he could not stay healthy, appearing in just 13 games over that time.
The next season, the Raiders decided to go on the offensive in regards to their receiver position and drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey with the seventh overall pick.
During Heyward-Bey's first two seasons, Zach Miller continued to be the Raiders' leading receiver, while DHB was looking as if he may never become a player worthy of being drafted at all, let alone drafted at #7 overall. He was outplayed by rookies both seasons. First it was fourth round pick in the same draft, Louis Murphy, then it was fourth round pick Jacoby Ford the next season.
Now Darrius Heyward-Bey has developed. After amassing just 490 yards receiving over his first two seasons combined, he has emerged as a deserving starter and it resulted in him just missing a 1000 yard season by 25 yards. Additionally, Schilens had the first healthy season since he was a rookie.
But even with solid if not at times spectacular receivers in Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford, the team managed to find yet another rookie steal in Denarius Moore. After being the talk of camp, he broke out in just his second game in the NFL with five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Bills in week two. He had five healthy games with Carson Palmer at the helm and he averaged over 78 yards per game during that time. That comes to 1254 yards for an entire season. He also led all Raider wide receivers with five touchdown catches and was second on the team with six combined touchdowns in 10 rookie starts.
Moore may just be the best of the whole group. Being the Raiders best receiver didn't used to mean much. But with a group of proven commodities like Murphy, Ford, and DHB along with the potential of Chaz Schilens, being the best of this group is making a statement.
Coming into this season, the need on this squad was for a veteran presence at receiver. That role was initially filled by Derek Hagan. Then Hagan was released to make room for another veteran receiver in TJ Houshmandzadeh. But even when the Raiders' receivers were stretched thin with injuries, Houshmandzadeh didn't receive a great deal of the load. The team still relied mainly on the rest of the young receivers on the team.
Now what was a weak point as recent as last offseason, is such a strong point that there are not enough balls to go around and we hear talk of trading a member of this talented group. The thinking is that there is value in a guy like Jacoby Ford that could bring in talent at a position in more need of an upgrade.
The problem with that idea is Ford excels at two positions, receiver and kick returner. He had three kick returns last season and had he not been injured he may have run a couple back this season as well. There is no one currently on the roster who can replace him and play at such a high level in both areas. But just the fact that such an idea would seem logical is very telling of how far this group has come.
The wide receivers are young and talented and should be a strength for a few years to come. They will give Carson Palmer a lot of great targets and help him to put up good numbers. This will also allow the team to focus its efforts to improve the team in other areas, be it via free agency or the draft. Not to mention giving opponents matchup nightmares.
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it's obvious Palmer and this offense was NOT the problem ... they did their job ... our defense colapsed. thanks Chucky B.
We do have an excellent group of receivers, however, there are two guys that will be potential free agents this year, and if available, should be looked at very seriously by the Raiders...Vincent Jackson and MEGATRON......Detroit will probably give Megatron the world to stay put, but Jackson now becomes a very realistic possibility.....DHB has improved his game, and is beginning to look very promising as a medium range wide receiver. However, he is not in Jackson's league, and cannot make the consistent plays above his shoulders the way Vincent Jackson can. Adding Jackson would make the Raider wide receiving corps literally unstoppable, and Carson Palmer would be on his way to offensive player of the year, with numbers so staggeringly high, that even Nilbymouth would be impressed!!!
Reggie Wayne is going to be a free agent. What would the thought be to drop Housh to sign Wayne for like 2-3 years as I know that Wayne is getting old for a WR.
Grubbs and Nicks would be great pick ups for both guard spots. That would allow us to move Wiz II to Center and kick Satele to the curb or bench if we have to keep him as a back up.
I think we should jump on signing CB Cortland Finnegan and S LaRon Landry to shore up the weak secondary. other options are Reggie Nelson and Michael Griffin at FS and Richard marshall, Carlos Rodgers at CB. I think the Chef's Brandon Carr or Flowers is a FA as well.
Right now, I don't see much in the way of OT's that are free agents outside of Joe Staley and D'Brickashaw Ferguson. I know that would be costly and would wanna play LT vs RT.
Paul Soliai and Aubrayo Franklin appear to best the best NT's that are going to be free agents, assuming we make the switch to a 3-4 defense. If we do, then one of these two would be a top priority.
I think we have plenty of players that can play the OLB in a 3-4, my concern is the depth of LBers that can play ILB. However, if we can sign Mario Williams, I'd be happy. lol. Jarrett Johnson is a player who I think is underrated that plays OLB. For ILB, I would like to see Barrett Ruud or Stephen Tulloch. Viking's EJ Henderson could be an option for ILB.
@LeviDamien McKenzie to interview with Raiders http:\/\/t.co\/y2M3lvSx
We need Bush back. We're lucky to have him and we've needed him every year because (for one thing) DMC is always banged up. We'd be fools to let him go in FA.
Interesting point on the Ford trade value. Hasn't got the huge numbers as yet so I'm not sure if we'd get value in return. I'd say keep him as his upside could be huge.
NFL.com is reporting we are interviewing Reggie McKenzie for GM. I like him or Ron Wolfs son( don't remember his first name). Will be weird to have someone besides Al calling the shots.
I will always remember Ronald Curry's catch in the snow game at Den. I think it was 05 or 06. It was one of the best one handed catches I've ever seen. Not sure why we dumped Hagen for TJ- I liked him. If it was to give Carson some familiarity then why wasn't he playing more? I looked to me like TJ was covering the defender because he got no separation on his routes. I think TJ is done. An offseason and training camp will go a long way for our passing game as well as getting DMC back for a couple of games next year. Hue has had alot of success developing WR's in his coaching career. Cinnci had it's best year when he was the WR coach. I think that he has had alot to do with the WR development here.
Starting to look good - with an entire offseason between them and Mr. Palmer and some health to go with it, it might become something special next year! Then only Housh needs to be replaced for someone who can contribute either on or off the field and we're good!
Looking forward to seeing what HJ, assuming he stays, will do with the O-line!
Carlisle isnt getting younger or stronger, and Barnes is just one big happy flagmachine sometimes, although his overall play improved from last year!
Big Barks and Beast Campbell will both (hopefully) have full offseasons and should be into the scheme of things (an extra year for Campbell to get it - the time is now!), so they will probably get the shot to compete and given every chance to succeed!
Hope we get a quality FA signing on that side of the line though, cause even though we did pretty well, we could do great if we had some personnel changes on a couple of positions there!
If we will consistently be able to pound the ball, even if D-Mac goes down (he is good and fast enough to create something out of nothing and threat to go all the way, Bush is not), as well as give Palmer the extra second to let #12 and #17 get down field, we can become a really, really good offense!
Also looking forward to seeing what happens to Wiz Jr - LG or C going forward? HJ didn't really commit, so guess camp and signings will determine what is going to happen!
@Spartacus DHB has the potential to be better than VJ ... he has the break away speed that VJ doesn't, and his just as strong as he is in YAC. he just needs a reliable QB like Palmer to match the output that VJ puts up every year... the only thing DHB lacks is catching with his hands... which i think like his route running skills, will come in time. he was held back at Maryland, just as Vernon Davis was. i was wrong about the kid... and am very, very sorry for ever doubting him.
Haha! But would these staggering high numbers include staggering high amount of interceptions? With Palmer I think so!
We don't need Reggie Wayne. We have a good young set of receivers and without Manning Wayne has looked average this year. Plus Housh is one of Jacksons hand picks so I don't see Housh going.
Grubbs and Nicks would both be nice (even just one of them) and Nicks could be available after the Saints signed Evans to a big deal not too long ago.
Please no Finnegan! This guy is a complete waste of space and I would hate to see him on this team. Especially when there could be other CBs available like Brent Grimes (one of the most underrated in the league), Carlos Rogers and Brandon Carr. Flowers has re0signed recently with the Chiefs so he isn't going anywhere. Safety I don't think there is much out there unless someone gets cut. Landry maybe but he is injured a lot, Griffin seems to be on the decline and same as Nelson. Tom Zbikowski could be an interesting pickup though. The biggest DB Free Agent we need to lock up is Branch!
If we go to a 3-4 I think it will be dependent on getting a quality NT. There could also be options like Sione Pouha, Antonio Garay and even Kelly Gregg from the Ravens.
No matter if we stay in a 4-3 or 3-4 Linebackers are needed. We have next to nothing depth wise! London Fletcher please! This man would change the defense himself. Or D'Qwell Jackson. Otherwise even solid contributors like Manny Lawson, David Hawthorne, Barrett Ruud or Larry Grant would all help improve this team. Grant stepped up big when Patrick Willis was hurt and could be a good signing.
@DevonRaiderUK I would keep him too! The others have shown promise, but no one has proven to be THE answer yet imo! I would think that a player like Murphy could be closer to the door, although his value might have declined after this season!
Still think that keeping them all is the best opportunity, especially as HJ want's Palmer to be able to go into three and four WR sets to change the pace - that will be possible with good depth and an offseason where they can work on the timing and chemistry!
Also, injuries happen, and this year we saw what that can mean to a team, so let's not sell out on potential diamonds!
@DylanAlexander His name is Eliot Wolf. Supposedly, if Oakland does hire Mckenzie as GM, he would bring Eliot Wolf with him as well. That is what I have read at least.
@DylanAlexander I too would have much rather have kept Hagan over signing Housh. i didn't get the move, especially cuz Housh didn't seem to play all that much either.
@DylanAlexander If HJ can work his magic and create something special between this group and Palmer it will look reallt good for the following year! A lot of potential has started to materialize, now it's just up to Hue to take it to that next level!!
Oakland’s running game declined quite a lot without McFadden though.
Remember, we were challenging for the number 1 running team in the entire league when he was playing. We ended up about 16th……………….
Truth is, McFadden ran on absolutely anyone. He was almost a cert for 100 yards, no matter how good the defence was. You can’t stop a guy that talented.
Bush got stopped plenty of times though.
A lot of Raiders games I watched, I was certain we would have won with McFadden in the team. We just couldn’t control the clock as well with only Bush.
I seriously think we’d have won 10 if he was healthy for most of the season.
@nilbymouth@JarrodRollins our receivers get hurt often, if you didn't notice. all of them are injury prone outside of DHB(even he misses a couple of games a year) ... we need some reliable depth like Reggie Wayne... and it gives them a true mentor, unlike what they have in Housh... it also gives Napalmer a seasoned vet to throw to! Reggie Wayne would be an excellent idea given he comes for a good price.
@nilbymouth I believe Kelly Gregg signed with the Chiefs. Was saying that if we needed to have an older vet WR on the team, I would rather have Wayne than Housh. With regards to Grimes, he plays with ATL, who runs a zone defense. Did you forget about MeAngelo already? I am cautious about CBs coming to Oakland after playing in a zone coverage defense. I couldn't remember which CB for KC had re-signed and which was going to be a FA.
I was trying to stay away from older players. London Fletcher is 34, I think. That is why I didn't have him in my post. I considered Garay and I think he is like 32. Pouha wil be 33 next month. Aubrayo Franklin, who was one of my picks, will be 31 just before the season starts. While Paul Soliai, my first choice, just turned 28 a couple weeks ago. I am trying to go youth to keep the team young, but experience. One NT io had forgot about, who is younger than the others is the Titan's Jason Jones. He's going to be 27 in May.
Curtis Lofton could be a good ILB and he is only 25 right now. He had 147 tackles in 2011. I had forgotten about D'Qwell Jackson cuz he has been injured for much of the past 3 years. He would be a good pick up. I think that EJ Henderson is underrated. I don't see the Viking's re-signing him after the big deal they signed Greenway to. Dan Connor is another option, but he is injury-prone and has had several concussions I believe the last few years. If you are ok with older players being signed, then what about Clark Haggans?
I wouldn't mind taking a chance on Terrell Thomas, who was injured during the preseason. Tracy porter is another option, albeit an injury-prone one. I still like Cortland Finnegan most as he is good in run support and is very solid coverage. While some people may call him a dirty player, I call him a tough player. Tanard Jackson was a very good FS before he was suspended for a season for weed. He played sparingly in 2011. I don't know if he still has it, but he is young, 26, and I think he could be very good again. if he can be gotten for cheap, then I would give him a shot.
I had forgotten to mention OT Demetrius Bell. He only started 7 games in 2011 as he missed the other 9 with injury. With the lack of depth on the OL. I think bell would be a good pick up to play RT over Barnes. Then again, just about anybody would be better than Barnes. Barnes was just as bad as Cornell Green.
One last nugget, what if we signed Matt Flynn to groom behind Palmer?
@Harder2000 All good points. The Offense is looking good for next year if we can just upgrade the OL right side and we might have the players on the bench in Heyer, Barksdale and Campbell. The D, well that's another story...
@ChristopherMooney I feel the same way!
D-Mac made our Line look good because he himself is good enough to make something out of nothing! He can do it all - when heathy - and he helped all aspects of the the offensive side of the team as he would always be good for some long yards while posing a threat on every down that needed to be taken into account!
... Bush is just not that good! He is a great complimentary back, and he fits what we does well, but as the only back or even as the lead back, he is just too one dimensional to offer what we needed! He did a great job and ran hard, but the D always knew where he was coming, so aside for some screen passes, he was pretty easy to contain!
I can't count how many times i have watched him run, hit a hole just to see him go down a few yards after - feeling that D-Mac would definately have made it to double digits or even the house!
Having a bruiser like Bush that really doesn't have the speed to threaten the outside requires for the line to be dominant and open up holes against a team that knows where a potential run will come - our line has not been able to do that effectively! The right side has not really been able to open up and sustain holes long enough, and the left side (our strongest side) has been a focus point for the D, so not too easy to run it!
Didn't really help Palmer who was battling inconcistencies because of a new system, injured players and lack of chemistry, and the D's were able to key on Bush who were shut down too often!
Bottom line, he had his chance to show he should be a lead back in the leage with FA coming up, he fought hard, but he fell short as he just lacks that game changer factor and the speed to consistently pose a threat to the house, or move the chain regularily by thumping through!
Most likely it has decreased his value to a level where we might be able to keep him, because if he had proven a legit NFL caliber lead back he would be too costly to resign as a back-up or complimentary back! I look forward to see what our three very talented backs can do with an entire off season, a hopefully less injuryprone season, Palmer at the helm and an offense that is designed to their strengths! They undoubtedly has an unreal talent level as a combined group, and if used correctly and together they should be worth the hype the coming season!
@JarrodRollins@nilbymouth McKenzie will redo these contracts, or let go of the players unwilling to compromise. it's a money crippling decision for the players that don't want to comply with our new GM... because they will not get contracts the size of anywhere close to what they have now. i believe we'll restructure and get a bunch of room to bring in some very good D talent like Solioa and Briggs.
@nilbymouth 2012 is the last year on Lechler's deal. So, signing him with an extension is a real possibility. After we made the trade for palmer, we re-signed him to a 4-year, $43M contract. I remember reading somewhere that most of Curry's contract was paid by the Seahawks, but I can't find the exact details on that.
Interesting numbers. Makes me sick to think that Palmer will be earning 12.5m! Lechler could reconstruct his but wasn't he just recently re-signed from memory? Also I am sure most of the contract for Curry is being paid by the Seahawks.
@nilbymouth The total amount of the salaries I mentioned in the last post is $94,163,273. That is only 14 players. That leaves us with about $25,836,727 to $30,836,727 to account for the remaining players under contract and to sign free agents if the cap is 120-125m.
We have about 15 or so free agents, that I can see. Maybe more than that, can't find anything concrete. That would mean that we have another 25 or so players still under contract. Some may get cut and some may get restructured but unless some of the bigger deals get restructured, we won't be able to do a whole lot in free agency.
@nilbymouth From what I can gather right now these are the top salaries for 2012 for us:
Seymour, 7.5m base - 7.5m bonus - 15m cap hit
Routt, 5m base - 1.25m bonus - 6.25m cap hit
Wimbley, 11m base/cap hit
DMac, 5.65m base - 1,066,667 bonus - 6,716,667 cap hit
Kelly, 6m base - 2,892,856 bonuses - 8,892,856 cap hit
Palmer, 12.5m base/cap hit
Huff, 4m base - 1,828,750 bonus - 5,828,750 cap hit
Hendu, 4m base - 750k bonus - 4.75m cap hit
Curry, 5.7m base/cap hit
Eugene, 2.5m base/cap hit
DHB, 1.605m base - 500k bonus - 2.105m cap hit
Lechler, 3.8m base - 1.85m bonuses - 5.65m cap hit
Seabass, 1.7m base/cap hit
McClain, 970k base - 4.6m bonus - 5.57m cap hit
The rest of the players, from what I saw, are either free agents or their base salary is under 1m. I couldn't find the figures for Kevin Boss's contract which i know is 4 years for 16m with 8m guaranteed.
I think the contracts most likely to be, or should be, restructured are Kelly, Dmac, Palmer, Wimbley, Curry, Lechler, McClain. I think that Lechler and Curry will sign extensions that will restructure their 2012 cap hit. I see Eugene likely being cut. The salary cap for 2012 could be 120-125m about, not sure yet.
In regards to the tags, I think Branch and Bush are the likely targets of the franchise and transition tags if a new deal cannot be reached in time. The estimated amount for the tags are as follows:
Franchise- approx. 6.22-6.459m
Transition- approx. 5.391-5.599m
Franchise- approx. 7.778-8.088m
Transition- approx. 6.691-6.949m
These numbers are just an estimation, nothing factual as of yet.
Yes I am not sold on Pryor either, and I am not sold on Jackson being a big fan of his either. I think he was a Davis pick and with the change of my management happening he might become a wasted pick for this team.
As for Flynn, it's not just last weeks performance either. Last year when Rodgers was injured against the Patriots I believe it was he put up impressive numbers also.
My understanding is that cap space will be looking pretty good due to some dead money coming off which will help. Also I am pretty sure DHBs cap hit's now are low with the majority of his salary being paid already. Also as much as i would like to see them reconstruct their contracts I am not sure Routt and Seymour will be willingly to again.
@nilbymouth I was impressed with Flynn's performance last week. he is going to be a free agent and i would like to see Oakland sign him. I never liked Pryor and I didn't like that we picked him in the supplemental draft.
For me, FS/CB, NT, ILB, and OG/RT are the biggest needs we have heading into this offseason. I would like to see 2-3 big free agent signings coupled with some smaller, more under the radar signings. I think the key heading into this offseason is cutting loose some dead weight *cough*Barnes, Satele*cough* and restructuring some big contracts *cought*Routt, Seymour, DHB, DMac*cough* to free up cap space in order to be a contender for the better free agents.
Yes sorry Gregg is with the Chiefs now, but pretty sure he only signed a one year deal? With Garay though he has only really played extensively the last two seasons so the wear on his body would be a lot less than most others his age. I not sure if Jones would be a suitable 3-4 NT though. I think he is a better in the 4-3. Another option for NT is Red Bryant from the Seahawks. He has really stepped his game up but I don't think the Seahawks will be letting him go.
I believe Grimes is just as effective as man-to-man cover DB though. Plus we have played a lot of Zone lately. I just really despise Finnegan and think he is one of the most overrated CBs in the game along with MeAngelo. Tracey Porter I like and is another I think could be a good option for FS but like you said has had his fair share of injuries. We need healthy reliable guys right now!
What I love about London Fletcher is he still is outplaying most guys 8-10 years younger! Much like Ray Lewis. His veteran leadership would be priceless also as Seymour lately seems to make more bone headed plays than smart plays. Lofton and Henderson I like and Haggans would be another solid contributor who could come relatively cheap. Dan Connor I think has to many injuries lately to consider unless he was cheap and we still had a capable backup ready.
Anyone is an upgrade over Barnes! Looking at the way Erik Pears as played this season for the Bills he is another player we should have held onto. I guess we are lucky in that we have a good young LT in Veldheer so finding a RT is easier. But it needs to be made a priority!
As for Flynn, don't even get me started! I wanted this guy over Palmer to begin with so I would love to see him as the QB of the future here. I would have been more than happy to pay for Flynn what this team gave up for Palmer. This guy to me is going to have a huge future and be the next Rodgers / Brady. He looks so good back there running the offense and I don't think he is just another "system QB" either.
@DevonRaiderUK No doubt! Really hope that Campbell has finally matured enough to contribute after a long offseason! Big Barks will be given every chance i think, he has been used more and more as the season went on! Heyer as well, although i think he is more of a quality backup!
... Don't sleep on Zach Hurd though! If Wiz and Wylie can keep him in check he could very well become an active part of the roster next year, and perhaps even a solid contributor! He is huge, plays with tenacity and he has a mean streak about him - the perfect bully, why i was very glad when we got him! He could become a pleasant surprise in the coming season with an offseason under his belt!
@nilbymouth Yeah, i have been wondering the same thing, and it is not a good sign! Hopefully it has more to do with some injury concerns than anything else, and an offseason more to mature could make him a contributor! He is still very young, came out when he just turned 20, so could be he just went in to soon and has needed some fundamentals and knowledge of the game without too much pressure!
No matter what, a physical beast like him should be able to do some damage on ST, so really hope they can get him straight!
Hopefully both Campbell, Barksdale and Hurd can become future long time starters!!
@DevonRaiderUK He is a very good compliement and he has a very usefull skillset that fits what we do really well - but he is not a starting caliber back, and because of it no one will offer him starter money, making it easier to compete if HJ want's to keep him!
And no doubt, Carlisle and Barnes needs to improve (go...) - Big Barks, Beast Campbell (and perhaps Hurd who is a beast of a man as well) might be able to replace them, otherwise we will need FA to replace at least one of them!
That said - D-Mac made an average (to sub-average perhaps) Oline look very good, while the same Oline made Bush look not too good! Bush is good, but not an every down lead back imo!
@DylanAlexander Has to be some serious shoes then! .. But no doubt!
Always thought we were gonna pursue UDFA LeGarrette Blount when he came out, now it seems it would have been a good move - although hindsight is always easy!
He didn't perform too well, showing no lead back kind of skill set, so i don't think he will be able to do a Michael Turner move, or get the offers, why we might get him at a discount! He is after all a very good compliement as you say, so if he doesn't come too expensive, i think we will retain him!
Really looking forward to a 100% healthy TJ, he has the speed and playmaker ability to assist D-Mac in the big play department!
@Harder2000 @ChristopherMooney Yeah, Bush always seemed to pick up 2-3 yards but that was about it. He doesn't have that 'break' factor to take one to the house like DMC. I think 8-10 yards is a long run for him. Any team who could plug the 'A' and 'B' gaps consistently could shut down Bush. He's a bruiser and an excellent complement to DMC but not worth lead back money. We need Tiwan Jones to stay healthy and pick up another back. I really like Bush but I don't think he is worth what he will most likely want to be paid. Spend the cash we save letting him go on some new shoes for DMC and he'll run for 1600-2000 yards next year.