The Oakland Raiders need help at wide receiver and there are not many players left in free agency who can provide it. One guy the team should consider is former San Francisco 49er Michael Crabtree, a wideout many believe the Raiders should have drafted back in 2009 when then owner Al Davis passed on both Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin for Darrius “I couldn’t catch a cold” Heyward-Bey.
Though he is better than DHB, Crabtree has been somewhat of a disappointment himself. He has only had one 1,000-yard season and hasn’t caught more than 85 passes in a year. He hasn’t been terrible, but he hasn’t lived up to the billing of a high first round pick either. Then again, his lone season over 1,000 yards is still one more than the entire Raiders roster currently possesses.
He isn’t the kind of guy the Raiders should look at as a long-term answer, but he could be an excellent option as a bridge until the Raiders can find that guy. Crabtree has not had anywhere near the level of interest he or many others believed he would receive since the free agency period began. With the first week in the books and only minimal interest being shown, Crabtree is getting to the point where he could be willing to consider signing a one-year “prove it” deal so that he can try to cash in big again next offseason.
For the Raiders, adding a guy who will be motivated by a big payday wouldn’t normally be advisable. After years of signing big free agent busts, the team is wary of players who are only out to cash in. But with Crabtree on a one-year deal, that shouldn’t be a concern. The team could sign him, let his drive to get a big contract help second-year quarterback Derek Carr, then let him walk next offseason and let another team worry about whether he can live up to his next contract.
The Raiders are likely going to draft a wide receiver in one of the first two rounds of the 2015 draft, but they could use more than one receiver after watching Carr struggle with an underwhelming group of wideouts in 2014. Crabtree may not be the splash signing the team was looking for when they pursued Randall Cobb, but he is a guy who could still have a big impact in 2015.