Adding DeSean Jackson to the Oakland Raiders current receiving duo would make them arguably the most dynamic offense in the entire NFL.
We already know DeSean Jackson wants to play with a great quarterback. The Oakland Raiders just happen to have one of those in Derek Carr.
Carr needs another reliable receiver to go with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Crabs himself was unreliable much of last season but pales in comparison to the frustration in flesh that is Seth Roberts.
Roberts is the man. And then he’s a goat. And then he’s the man again. But more often, he’s the goat. When he’s the man, the Raiders win. It’s a fact. They are undefeated when Roberts scores a touchdown at 8-0.
Roberts doesn’t just drop passes (under 50% catch rate in 2016). He drops KEY passes. Kills drives. He breaks Raider Nation hearts. It’s time for the Raiders to move on from him, even though he’s young, cheap, and has had some stellar (Tampa) moments.
Jackson would be a major upgrade over Roberts as the third receiver. He’s got Jackson has more reliable hands than Roberts, for sure. But it’s his versatility and explosiveness that separate him from Roberts and would give Carr a truly elite third weapon.
Jackson isn’t so young anymore, won’t be cheap, but still produces stellar moments regularly. Far more than Roberts for sure.
Roberts had five catches of 20+ yards last season; Jackson had 19. Roberts had zero catches over 40 yards; Jackson had 5. Jackson averaged 17.6 yards per catch, seven yards more than Roberts’ 10.4 ypc. Simply put, Jackson was more reliable in catching the ball, and more effective with it in his hands. By far.
It’s possible, though, through some strategic cuts and contract restructures. Structuring Carr and Mack’s long-term deals with deferred money and signing bonuses. There are ways to free up cash.
Carr took a major step forward in his progression last year, but too often was let down by drops from Roberts. When Cooper and Crabtree got stopped no reliable third option stepped up consistently.
Johnny Holton is still raw and learning the game. Andre Holmes has the same problems as Roberts in a bigger and even more inconsistent body. This draft has excellent receivers at the top end, but isn’t that deep. The Raiders need a deep threat to put their explosive offense over the top and open up the middle of the field for their run game and tight ends to do damage.
D-Jax is a #1 receiver in this league. Crabtree is a reliable #2 receiver who can and has carried the #1 load, and Cooper is growing into his talent and his role as the go-to guy.
That would give Carr three viable #1 receiver talents to throw to, and Jackson’s speed and route running ability make him a danger in the slot or on the outside. The Raiders really only have Cooper as a deep threat, and that’s not his #1 strong suit. It is Jackson’s #1 strong suit – but not his only strength.
Imagine the possibilities for Todd Downing. Shuffling those three around in and out of X, Y, and slot positions to confuse the defense and create matchup nightmares. Cooper can shift inside and use his size and speed at times. Jackson’s presence opens up a world of possibilities and creativity on offense.
Few throw a nicer deep ball than Carr, and Jackson can go get it like nobody else. Jackson would look really good swagging around in a Raider uniform, and he loves the Raiders and the Bay Area.
You can just see Carr lofting a beautiful spiral into the Oakland horizon. Jackson streaks a Silver & Black blur down the sideline, snatching it up and juking a defender on his way into the end zone.
It would be fun, but it’s unlikely. The Raiders will likely be more prudent with their money and go a different route. The defense is in more dire need of upgrading, as is the offensive line depth.
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Tampa Bay is the apparent front-runner for Jackson. They have a major need at receiver beyond Mike Evans and plenty of cap room. Their interest is well-known and could drive up Jackson’s market value.
Jackson’s teammate Pierre Garcon, if he’s available, may be a better option. Garcon isn’t as explosive as Jackson but he has better hands and delivered a solid 2016. Plus he will be cheaper.
It’s a match made in heaven for the LA native and former Golden Bear. After witnessing the depth of secondary talent in this year’s draft, the Raiders can feel a bit more comfortable getting defensive help in the draft.
Everything needs to break right and money properly arranged. If that happens the Raiders should bring in a native son who could put them over the top on offense.