Raiders Plan to Release Starting Wide Receiver: Report

jon gruden

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.

In the 2019 offseason, the Raiders brought in Tyrell Williams and Antonio Brown in an effort to revamp their wide receivers corps. Through most of the offseason, it looked like they could form one of the better pass-catching duos in the NFL. That obviously didn’t end up happening as Brown just won a Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay buccaneers and Williams didn’t play a single game in 2020.

Even after Brown was released in 2019, the Raiders had high hopes for Williams. Due to injury, he was never able to show the team that he could be a consistent impact player and it appears he won’t ever get that shot. According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Las Vegas is planning to release Williams.

The decision doesn’t come as a surprise as there was no way the Raiders could pay him the $11.5 million he was due this season. Williams was a 1,000-yard receiver back in 2016 but he hasn’t eclipsed more than 728 yards in a season since. His two seasons with the Raiders will seriously hurt his value in free agency but he’ll definitely get a shot with another team in 2021.

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Could Raiders Bring Williams Back?

Williams will now join a loaded free-agent class of wide receivers, which could hurt his potential value. Even with taking his contract off the books, the Raiders still don’t have very much cap space. If Nelson Agholor doesn’t want to come back, the team could have a need at wide receiver. Perhaps that would open up the opportunity for Williams to come back on a much smaller deal.

With so much talent in free agency this year, Williams isn’t going to get a big contract. Maybe he could come back to Las Vegas for one more year and try to reclaim some value. He’s only 28 and could be an impact player if he stays healthy. That said, it’s hard to see him coming back. A fresh start with a new team might be the better move for Williams’ career.

Do the Raiders Need to Add a WR in Free Agency?

With Williams off the books, the Raiders have taken their first major step in creating cap space for free agency. Most of their money should be spent on fixing the defense but wide receiver could be a need for Las Vegas. There’s no guarantee that Agholor has any interest in coming back after his career year.

The Raiders probably wouldn’t feel supremely confident in relying on Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards heading into next season. That means they could spend a little bit of money on trying to add a No. 1 wide receiver. The team is reportedly “very interested” in JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is a free agent. He’s probably looking to get paid and the Raiders wouldn’t be wise to give him too much money.

Due to their lack of money to spend, the team might need to take a shot on a guy like A.J. Green or Sammy Watkins. Both men are past their primes but could still be good for a couple of clutch plays. Plus, they shouldn’t cost a lot of money. Adding a guy like Chris Godwin or Allen Robinson would be very exciting, but the Raiders have much bigger needs that they should be spending their money on.

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