If the Las Vegas Raiders want wide receiver help in free agency, they may need to look at a former rival. Emmanuel Sanders spent years torching the Raiders while he was with the Denver Broncos. He was traded to the San Francisco 49ers midseason and ended up playing in a Super Bowl. He’ll now be heading into free agency and Brent Sobleski of Bleacher Report believes he is an “ideal target” for the Raiders in free agency:
“The soon-to-be 33-year-old Sanders will likely look to cash in a final time this offseason. Most teams won’t want to spend a significant amount on an aging receiver, but the Las Vegas Raiders don’t operate like most organizations.
Head coach Jon Gruden values veteran experience. He’s willing to place older players in prominent positions to expedite the building process. Sanders would immediately give the Raiders a much-needed option in the passing game.”
Sobleski is not wrong in his assessment that Gruden likes veteran wide receivers. Heading into 2018, he signed Jordy Nelson and heading into 2019, he traded for Antonio Brown. Both guys were over 30 at the time of the additions. Sanders would fall in line with what Gruden’s done in the past. However, Sanders played a big role for the 49ers in 2019 and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t want to stay and compete for another Super Bowl. If San Francisco wants him, Sanders probably stays in the Bay Area.
A.J. Green Among Other Free Agent WR Targets
If they miss out on Sanders, there’s another wide receiver over the age of 30 who could interest Gruden. A.J. Green has been one of the most dominant wide receivers of the current era. He’s spent his entire career with the Cincinnati Bengals and it remains to be seen if he wants to walk. The Bengals are more than likely about to spend the number one overall pick on a quarterback in the upcoming draft, so having a player like Green around could be appealing for them. That said, if he decides that he wants to play for a contender as his career nears its end, Green could look elsewhere. The Raiders may not be the suitor that’s most likely to make it to the Super Bowl in 2020, but they are very close to legitimate playoff contention. If healthy, Green could play a big role in making that happen.
If Green stays put, the Raiders could also take a look at Robby Anderson. He’s younger and has plenty left in the tank. He’s never put Green or Sanders type numbers, but he’s also never had a consistent quarterback throwing him the ball. The Raiders reportedly like Anderson, so he’s definitely a name to watch once free agency starts.
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Raiders Should Draft a WR Regardless
Even if the Raiders add a big name like Sanders or Green, they can’t skip on drafting a wide receiver early. They probably would’ve done it in 2019 had they not expected to have Antonio Brown and that obviously blew up in their face. Luckily, the 2020 group of rookie wide receivers is brimming with talent, so the Raiders don’t need to stress about getting one really early in the first round.
They could even potentially wait until the third round to find a potential difference-maker. The Raiders picked a good year to have wide receiver be their biggest need. Hopefully, they’ve learned from past mistakes and will address the position in the draft.