Oakland Raiders moving in right direction with Michael Crabtree extension


September 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree (15) scores a touchdown against Baltimore Ravens defensive back Kyle Arrington (24, right) during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For the past few seasons, Raiders fans watched as the franchise struck-out in Free Agency. Big names like Ndamukong Suh never truly considered the team, despite the team’s available cash.

After the Raiders scrapped the bottom of the barrel, their free agent additions struggled to make an impact.

Many veterans came as one-year gambles including: Michael Jenkins, Tracy Porter, Tarell Brown, Carlos Rogers and Vance Walker. These veterans with something to prove became gambles that were not worth a second year of financial investment or playing time.

Even the ones who signed long-term deals did not play them out. Shout-out to Ron Bartell, C.J. Wilson, Antonio Smith, James Jones, Pat Sims, Maurice Jones-Drew, Philip Wheeler, LaMarr Woodley and Kevin Burnett. Those are just some of the players who became cap casualties because they could not carve out long-term roles.

The Raiders even struggled keeping their own players like Jared Veldheer and Lamarr Houston, who bounced when they had an opportunity with better teams.

However, the Michael Crabtree extension signed earlier this week changes all of that.

Obviously, Crabtree’s extension alone does not reverse the Raiders’ misfortune with free agent signings. Instead, Crabtree’s decision to re-up with the Raiders proves the team is building something veterans want to be apart of.

In a recent interview, Crabtree expressed his happiness to be with the Raiders.

"“It’s pretty neat that you know you’re wanted and you want to be on a team and you’re here,” Crabtree said of his deal via ESPN."

Clearly, Crabtree wanted to be with Oakland because they were one of the few teams that courted him after two down seasons across the bay with the San Francisco 49ers.

Crabtree is one of a handful of signings that panned out. He along with Charles Woodson, Justin Tuck and Donald Penn are some veteran signings that stuck in Oakland.

Unlike Woodson, Tuck and Penn, Crabtree is only 28 years old. He still has a few more years of his prime left.

Crabtree registered more than 700 yards and 7 touchdowns through 12 games. Not bad for a player who made no noise in free agency.

Hence, Crabtree is one of the General Manager Reggie McKenzie‘s best signings, along with defensive tackle Dan Williams. Williams has already become of the Raiders most reliable defenders, and he is already on a long-term contract.

As for Crabtree, he could have found other suitors in free agency. On pace to eclipse 1,000 yards this season, the 2009 No. 10 pick has shown rejuvenated speed and consistent possession receiver abilities with the Raiders.

Pro Football Focus ranks Crabtree as the No. 29 best receiver with a positive 6.1 grade for the season. That puts Crabtree ahead of Raiders rookie Amari Cooper, who registered a 1.2 grade for the season.

However, Crabtree did not even need to test the market. He was happy in Oakland. Crabtree is happy with the bay. He is happy catching balls from Derek Carr and playing across from Cooper.

That is a sign that head coach Jack Del Rio has this team moving in the right direction.

Do not be surprised if more free agents find happiness in Oakland, as the team has a bright future and more than $72 million in cap space for 2016.

Stay tuned to see which veterans will latch on with the Raiders next. Finally, the team is a contender for some real free agent acquisitions.