News broke Thursday afternoon that the Raiders were making two moves, which will affect the wide receivers group next season. Jordy Nelson, the former Green Bay Packer, signed a two- year, 15 million dollar contract, with 13 million guaranteed. Nelson spurned interest from New Orleans and Seattle. Subsequently, Oakland released three-year starter Michael Crabtree. This comes to the surprise to many fans in Raider Nation, who were hoping to have both Nelson and Crabtree next season. Unfortunately, that will not be the case for quarterback Derek Carr and the passing attack.
Nonetheless, Nelson comes into a situation where he has received high praise from new Head Coach Jon Gruden. During Gruden’s time as the Monday Night Football host, the coach raved about Nelson’s great hands and his ability to make big plays in the passing game. Now, Gruden will get his chance to coach Nelson for the next two seasons.
Nelson struggled to get any rhythm without Aaron Rodgers last season. Nelson caught 53 passes for 482 yards and six touchdowns, his worst season since 2011. But then again, the previous three seasons for the nine-year veteran was outstanding. Nelson averaged 93 catches, 1,363 yards, and 12 touchdowns (Nelson missed 2015) for the Packers. Therefore, the talent and skillset is there. In addition, being able to pair Nelson with Carr should bolster his potential for a bounce back season in 2018.
With the recent moves in free agency, the Raiders look to play a more smash-mouth, two tight end, and fullback type offense. Furthermore, the benefit of this variation of the west coast offense will be the play-action pass. Gruden will attack opposing defenses down the field. Nelson thrived in that role for Green Bay with his 6’3” frame. Look for Nelson to take on that roll of red zone threat and the number two option in this offense.