Since the end of the season, many have chalked it up as a foregone conclusion that Michael Crabtree won’t be back. He barely saw the field in the season finale, seeing just 17 snaps, a week after seeing less than half the team’s offensive snaps (45%). He saw a total of 5 targets in those games with 2 catches for 17 yards. Clearly he was falling out of favor.
In the midst of this, reports came out that the Raiders were planning on moving on from him. That whole idea was suddenly on hold when in the minutes following the team’s season ending loss to the Chargers in Los Angeles, Jack Del Rio was fired.
With the old staff out, a clean slate seemed as if it could change things for Crabtree. And from the way Jon Gruden is talking, Crabtree’s certain departure may have been greatly exaggerated. The Raiders new head coach responded to a question posed to him in an interview with the Mercury News of players on his roster that excite him and Crabtree got a mention.
“I got to bump into Crabtree,” Gruden said. “Hopefully we can get the best out of Crabtree and his career. There’s some people in place…”
So, at least at this juncture, it would appear as if Gruden intends on trying to give it a go with Crabtree.
If anything could change that it could be the fact that the team would pick up $7.7 million in cap room with no dead money left behind by cutting Crabtree. Those kinds of decisions are made at least partially by management. That being Reggie McKenzie. If Gruden were to defer to McKenzie, the plans could change quickly.
Keep in mind, whether Crabtree stays or not, the Raiders still need to add a receiver. Whether that’s a quick slot receiver or big outside presence. They don’t have either right now.