One of the few starting caliber players remaining in free agency will be visiting the Oakland Raiders next week according to Yahoo Sports reporter Rand Getlin.
Crossing the bay? WR Michael Crabtree will visit the #Raiders next week, a source said.
— Rand Getlin (@Rand_Getlin) April 3, 2015
Not long ago, I noted that the Raiders needed to consider signing Crabtree. The team is scary thin at the wide receiver position and cannot afford to allow second-year quarterback Derek Carr go through another season with the lackluster pass catchers currently on the team.
As it stands currently, the starting wide receivers for the Raiders in 2015 will be James Jones and Rod Streater. Jones had a solid season in 2014, but he’s nothing more than a number two at best. The Raiders would be much better off if he was Carr’s third option. Streater has the potential to be a very good number two, but he’s coming off a serious foot injury and there is no guarantee he’ll be the player he was before missing almost all of 2014.
Brice Butler had 21 catches for 280 yards last season, and Kenbrell Thompkins had 21 receptions for 262 yards (Thompkins had 32 receptions for 466 yards with four touchdowns in his rookie season a year earlier with New England). So there’s some potential there, but it’s a stretch to say those two are receivers on whom the Raiders can rely.
The team is probably going to take a wide receiver at some point in the upcoming draft, but it’s not a lock that they grab Kevin White or Amari Cooper with their first round pick. They could also use a veteran like Crabtree to solidify the squad. While he didn’t play like one over the last two seasons, Crabtree would immediately compete to be the number one wideout in Oakland. He would be the only player on the team to have a 1,000-yard season under his belt and his 85 catches in 2012 is more than any receiver on the team has ever notched in a single season.
Getting someone like Crabtree on a one-year, “prove it” deal would be smart for the team. Concerns about his attitude and potentially being a distraction would be minimized by his desire to land a big deal next offseason. Most players give their best and are good soldiers when playing in a contract year. His 2014 season was not great but he still put up more yards than anyone on the Raiders roster and this was after being injured in 2013.
At this point, the Raiders cannot afford to be picky and need to grab starting caliber talent any chance they have. Crabtree represents the best opportunity to get a starter before the draft begins.