Since the end of the season, rumors swirled that Michael Crabtree tenure with the Raiders could end. In my opinion, this would be a massive mistake. However, that will be difficult to ensure as Crabtree produced since arriving in 2015.
Over the last three seasons, Michael Crabtree is one of just four receivers with at least 25 receiving touchdowns. He remains the most important red zone threat for the offense. In 2017, he finished fifth in the league in targets inside the 10-yard line posting a line of 11 targets. That resulted in five receptions and five touchdowns. The next closest Raider doesn’t even breach the top 40 in any red zone receiving category. More impressively, in a year where he notched his second lowest yards-per-reception in his career, Crabtree still pulled down the second most touchdowns of his career. In short, Crabtree is the Raiders primary target and go-to receiver.
Crabtree has also proven to be among the more clutch receivers in the league and has certainly bailed out his quarterback with tough or important catches. His three two-point conversions over the last three are years are tied for the league lead along with another Raider, Seth Roberts. All told, over his three years, Crabtree is by far the most reliable Raider receiver and it is not even close. He has consistently led the team in receptions, first downs, completion percentage, and points scored by a non-quarterback or kicker. Moving on from him would leave a gaping hole in the offense. That is even considering his team leading five drops on the season and 21 over that three-year span.
If the Raiders brass decides that Michael Crabtree is not worth his cap number at $7 million, who replaces him?. Would that player be as consistent in the red zone or in clutch time? Can that player have the same kind of rapport that he and $125 Million quarterback Derek Carr? Would he have the same kind of role as Crabtree took on? Maybe the answer is yes to all of those questions, but I would think if a player could check all of those boxes, why is he on the market in the first place?