Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock have some big decisions to make after spending a whole lot of money in the early stages of 2019 NFL free agency. Specifically, there are a number of current players on the offensive side of the ball for the Oakland Raiders who could wind up seeing the door following the recent signings.
One position that could see the biggest shake-up is wide receiver, where the Raiders acquired Antonio Brown via trade and reportedly agreed to terms on a contract with Tyrell Williams. Both players will obviously step in and play big roles, but beyond that, the team also invested a lot of money in each.
Brown’s deal features an increase in pay over three years from $38.925 million up to $50.125 million, per Pro Football Talk. But as ESPN’s Adam Schefter detailed, the Raiders also gave him $30.125 million in new guarantees along with $4 million additional in incentives as well.
But then came the signing of the former Los Angeles Chargers wideout in Williams. As ESPN’s Adam Schefter also reported, his deal is worth $44 million over four years with a max value of $47 million and $22 million in guarantees.
This means between Brown and Williams, there’s more than $52 million in guarantees going to wide receivers. And with the two deals, attention now shifts to two current Raiders pass-catchers in Jordy Nelson and Seth Roberts, who could see the door soon.
Jordy Nelson a Candidate to Be Released
After signing a two-year, $14.2 million deal with the Raiders last offseason, the 33-year-old could be on his way out. The Green Bay Packers parted with Nelson prior to 2018, and if the Raiders chose to free up cap space, releasing him would count for just $1.8 million in dead cap, as Spotrac details.
The cap savings would be a decent amount at north of $3.568 million, but it’s not an earth-shattering number. Even still, Gruden and Mayock could choose to go with a more cost-effective option as their No. 3 wideout or even look to the draft in order to address that spot.
For what it’s worth, Nelson had a fine year in 2018, totaling 63 catches for 739 yards and three scores, but was below 50 receiving yards in all but one of the first 10 games. In the final five games of the year, he topped 75 yards on four occasions and caught six or more passes in each game.
Seth Roberts Likely to Be Released
Going one step further, it’s tough to envision Roberts not being released based on his contract. While the 28-year-old has flashed upside throughout his career, he’s likely to be the odd man out based on his deal and the fact that there’s no dead money for the team to release him. Per Spotrac, if the Raiders part with Roberts, it frees up all $4.65 million of his cap number.
Roberts’ numbers in 2018 were on par with the year before, as he caught 45 passes for 494 yards and two scores. This was a slight increase from the 44/455/1 total the year prior, but his touchdowns remain down after he hauled in 10 through the first two seasons.
If by some chance the choice came down to Nelson or Roberts, there’s a good chance that it would be Roberts who’s released for cap space reasons. Time will tell whether it pans out, but both names are worth monitoring moving forward.