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Raiders offseason positional primer: Wide Receiver

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As we continue survey the present and future of every position this offseason, it’s time to take a look at the Raiders receiving corps.

The S&BP community voted wide receiver as the team’s second biggest need in late November, and it’s quite evident that the team will look to bolster the position after some shaky performances across the Raiders’ late-season skid.

To take a look at our offseason positional primer for the cornerback position, click here.

Currently on roster

Tyrell Williams (UFA in 2023)

Hunter Renfrow (UFA in 2023)

Zay Jones (UFA in 2021)

Marcell Ateman (RFA in 2021)

Anthony Ratliff-Williams (Futures contract)

Hunter Renfrow should be a staple as the flanker receiver in Jon Gruden’s offense for the foreseeable future, but aside from him, things look a little foggy here.

Tyrell Williams’ contract is structured so that the team could walk away from him $11 million salary this offseason with $0 in dead cap money. Considering that he dealt with plantar fasciitis for the better part of the season, however, it is likely that the Raiders bring him back. The team already has $70 million-plus in salary cap this offseason, so it’s not like they need the extra money.

However, it’s quite clear that the Raiders should not keep Williams at their X receiver spot next season. He has always profiled as a better Z receiver and deep threat anyways, and would’ve been in a much better position to succeed if a certain diva receiver didn’t derail his career.

Bumping Williams to the Z spot would move Zay Jones out of the starting lineup, which is most likely a good thing.

Jones and Derek Carr never seemed to find chemistry during the season after the Raiders traded a 2021 fifth-round pick for him on Oct. 7. While he has one year left on his contract, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was cut this offseason considering that there’s no guaranteed money left on his deal. Jones could potentially thrive next season with a full offseason of training with the team under his belt, but nothing he did this year inspires much confidence.

Marcell Ateman made a few strides this season and ended up getting some snaps at X when Williams’ foot issue was acting up, but his name certainly isn’t written in sharpie on the future roster. Anthony Ratliff-Williams, meanwhile, might simply be a training camp body for the Raiders. They signed him to a futures contract three weeks ago, and if he pops, that would be found money.

2020 Raiders free agents

Dwayne Harris

Keelan Doss

Harris’ season-ending injury severely threw a wrench in the Raiders special teams effectiveness, but at age 32 it would be surprising to see him re-signed for anything more than a year.

Availability is the best ability in football, and with his advanced age the team might be looking to find a more long-term solution to their returner position (or dangerfielder spot as one hilarious member of the S&BP community has re-named it).

Keelan Doss was an odd story this year after the Hard Knocks star left for the Jaguars before returning to the Raiders to be a glorified practice squad player. It’s unclear whether the Raiders want to bring him back at the moment, but the UC Davis product is certainly a fan favorite, and it would be surprising if he didn’t get a training camp invite.

Top free agent WRs

A.J. Green

Amari Cooper

Emmanuel Sanders

Robby Anderson

It would be quite surprising if the Raiders signed any of the names above, especially Amari Cooper.

Getting Cooper back would be quite hilarious if he were willing to re-join the team that traded him and fanbase that has constantly trolled his occasional no-show performances, but Spotrac expects his market value to be around $19.7 million per season. The Cowboys might not be able to fork over all that cash after extending a handful of their studs this year, so he may be available. But I wouldn’t expect the team to spend so highly with an elite receiver class incoming.

Coming off a season-long injury that was only expected to sideline him for a month or so initially, A.J. Green could be a value signing if the price is right. He might be interested in a 1-year prove it deal for somewhere between $14-18 million, which might interest the Raiders. With Joe Burrow likely coming to Cincinnati, however, Green might want to continue his career with the only pro team he’s ever known.

Robby Anderson has been linked to the Raiders quite a bit, and the team reportedly kicked the tires on trading for him mid-season, but he wouldn’t single-handedly solve the team’s reciever problem and has a skillset that’s quite similar to Williams. If Williams is cut, Anderson could be signed with the money left over.

While the aforementioned receivers on this list have shifted into offseason mode, Emmanuel Sanders will be playing in the NFC Championship game tonight. With how well he’s assimilated into the 49ers’ starting lineup, the team will likely aim to re-sign him. But if they’re unable to navigate a tight salary cap situation, he could be an interesting acquisition on something along the lines of a 2-year, $20 million deal.

Other free agent WRs of note

Randall Cobb

Breshad Perriman

Devin Funchess

Nelson Agholor

Geronimo Allison

None of these receivers would really move the needle in Las Vegas, but adding any one of this quintet of guys would surely bolster the team’s depth out wide.

Randall Cobb had a bit of a bounce back year this season, but he will likely cost too much for a No. 4 receiver. Nelson Agholor is coming off a down season and lost the confidence of the Eagles’ staff after suffering a bad case of the dropsies, but his value might be low enough right now to make him a steal.

Devin Funchess played in only one game this season before being placed on season-ending IR with a broken collarbone, so he may be a solid value play as well.

Meanwhile, Geronimo Allison and Breshad Perriman both profile as solid, but unspectacular depth pieces. Perriman went off in a few games late in the season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which might elevate his price range, but a lot of that performance had to do with injuries and Tampa’s explosive offense. Of the guys on this season, signing Perriman to something along the lines of a 1-year, $5 million deal feels the most intriguing.

Draft options

Day 1 targets — CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Laviska Shenault Jr., Tee Higgins, Henry Ruggs III

Day 2 targets — Jalen Reagor, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk, KJ Hamler, Michael Pittman Jr.

Day 3 targets — Denzel Mims, Collin Johnson, Jauan Jennings, Van Jefferson, Quartney Davis

This is an incredibly deep receiver class, and there are a ton of talented players not on this list like Tyler Johnson, Antonio Gandy-Golden, and Gabe Davis to name a few. Adding all of the available and notable receivers would make this list far too long, and we’ll certainly be taking a more in-depth approach to learn more about those mentioned and not mentioned in the coming months.

At No. 12, CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy stand out as potential surefire No. 1 wide receivers going forward. Henry Ruggs III might be in play at 12 as well, but if neither Lamb or Jeudy are there, it wouldn’t be surprising if the team addressed the defense first. At No. 19, Ruggs, Laviska Shenault and Tee Higgins will all be in play.

Jalen Reagor is quite unlikely to fall all the way to the Raiders in the third round, but if the team decides to trade back in the first round and acquire more draft capital, he would be an interesting target.

Van Jefferson and Jauan Jennings both might get bumped into the second or third round conversation by the time the draft process is over, but considering the state of the position in this draft, they might be there for the taking in the fourth round.

Quartney Davis, meanwhile is a relatively unheralded receiver out of Texas A&M who should be a pre-draft riser. The 6-foot-2, 200 pound Texas native didn’t put up eye-popping stats across his two seasons in the starting lineup, but his athletic profile and upside should interest a lot of teams.