Oakland Raiders Potential Option for Ryan Mathews


Missing out on the DeMarco Murray sweepstakes, the Oakland Raiders may not be done in their pursuit of veteran running backs despite already bringing in Roy Helu Jr. from Washington on the first day of 2015 NFL Free Agency. Reports from Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network indicating that the team may just be hellbent on acquiring another veteran in the backfield at all costs.

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The running back in question has deep AFC West ties as the team is reportedly interested in the often injured Ryan Mathews who has just one sixteen game season over his five year career with the San Diego Chargers. That does not appear to concern the Raiders just yet as they have reported interest in the 27 year old back who has two 1000 yard seasons when healthy.

According to Rapoport the Raiders are a potential destination to watch when it comes to Mathews, who was visiting in Philadelphia before the DeMarco Murray craziness went down on Thursday morning. Now with the Eagles making their big splash on Murray the Raiders might be interested in taking the Plan B from Philly onto their own roster if the reports coming out have any weight to them.

Rapoport also said that the Raiders have always been high on Mathews, a player they have had plenty of opportunities to watch as a member of the Chargers giving them first hand knowledge of what the back can bring to the table when healthy.

Mathews best season came in 2013 when he played all 16 games, compiling 1255 rushing yards and six touchdowns while helping to guide the San Diego Chargers into the playoffs. 2014 was a challenge for Mathews however as another injury plagued campaign held him to just eight games where he still registered 4.5 yards per carry and three touchdowns, but once again was limited in how much he could provide for the Chargers due to his absences from the lineup for half of the season.

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The phrase “when healthy” is always going to be the story for Mathews and it appears the general manager Reggie McKenzie is interested in seeing if the former Charger can stay on the field long enough to join the Raiders running back tandem. Averaging 4.4 YPC for his career and with 23 career touchdowns there is no denying that if at the right price the adding of Mathews to the running back rotation would be a positive whenever he is healthy, but the concern is that he signs in Oakland before failing to stay on the field enough to make the impact that he is capable of making.

With the young Latavius Murray and now Roy Helu Jr. on the roster the Raiders can afford to roll the dice on Mathews if they wish. Some would criticize the move due to his injury woes, but the fact is that if it is low risk the upside is more than enough for McKenzie to consider pulling the trigger. Hitting 1000 yards in his last two healthy seasons the Raiders could nab a steal with Mathews if he can stay on the field, if not the team has enough talent to fall back on. We will wait and see how interested McKenzie truly is when it comes to Mathews, but this seems like the low risk-high reward move the general manager is into now that the option of a splashy signing of DeMarco Murray is officially off of the table.