The Oakland Raiders went down and went down hard in 2018. Can the organization makes significant strides in rebuilding the Silver and Black this offseason?
In 2002, the Oakland Raiders faced Jon Gruden’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl XXXVII. The latter handled the Silver and Black, 48-21, and the franchise from the Bay Area has seemingly never recovered. The team has made one playoff appearance since (2016) and now Gruden begins his second season during his second stint as the club’s head coach.
This past year, there was no blast from the past as the Raiders tumbled to 4-12 and last place in the AFC West. But thanks to some major housecleaning throughout the past year, the club has its share of cap space (via Spotrac) and three first-round picks in this April’s draft. But the team’s “to do” list is a long one.
5. More help at wide receiver
For a few seasons and with quarterback Derek Carr at the controls, the Raiders’ wide receiving tandem of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper put up some tremendous numbers. But last offseason – in one of many moves by the Silver and Black – the team parted ways with Crabtree after three seasons, 232 receptions and 25 scores with the club. The team would pick up longtime Green Bay Packers wideout Jordy Nelson, who had also been released by the team he played for. And of course, Cooper would be dealt during the season to the Dallas Cowboys for a first round draft pick This April.
Nelson wound up finishing third on the team with 63 receptions, good for 739 yards and just three scores. The real focus of the team’s passing attack was Pro Bowl tight end Jared Cook. He and running back Jalen Richard tied for the club lead with 68 catches. Meanwhile, Crabtree signed with Baltimore and had a somewhat-productive year. On the other hand, Cooper would eventually be just what the doctor ordered for Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys’ passing game.
Along with Nelson, there’s unsung Seth Roberts and 2018 seventh-round pick Marcell Ateman, while Brandon LaFell and Dwayne Harris are potential free agents. And for what it’s worth, Cook could also hit the open market. Put out the “HELP WANTED” sign.