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James Jones' release needs an explanation

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The Oakland front office began shedding some veteran players just hours after the draft, and while some make sense, the release of James Jones is confusing.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

In terms of pure talent, the Oakland Raiders' roster is improving, but it remains far from "elite" — which is one of many reasons why the release of James Jones is confusing.

In 2014, James Jones was Oakland's best receiver — leading the team in targets (111), catches (73) and receiving touchdowns (6). In fact, Jones' contributions went beyond just the numbers — if Oakland needed a big play in a big spot, you could be sure that Jones was the receiver Derek Carr was looking for.

And now, he's gone.

Why? Honestly — I'm not sure.

Sure, it saves Oakland a few million bucks — but we're talking about a team that is reportedly more than $20 million under the cap.

Sure, Oakland now has a crowded group of receivers with the additions of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, but we're still talking about a team whose receivers are far from great. In fact, who exactly is going to take Amari Cooper under their wing to show him the ropes? With Jones gone, Oakland's most experienced receiver is Crabtree — a guy with a questionable past when it comes to the lockerroom dynamic.

There are teams in the league who can afford to cut talented players like James Jones, but if Oakland thinks it's one of them, they're mistaken. The Raiders are always looking to add more organizational depth and talent, but by cutting Jones, they moved in the opposite direction.

When it comes to Kevin Boothe and Miles Burris, we're talking about replacement-level players. Those are players Oakland should feel confident in believing they have already replaced through the draft.

With Jones, however, the story is different. After adding two new weapons offensively through the draft, Derek Carr should have been pleased. After losing his favorite target, however, the weekend was probably a little bit dampened.