After two highly productive seasons, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Michael Crabtree is quietly in line for yet another strong season.
While Amari Cooper is the Oakland Raiders wide receiver who receives most of the attention from opposing defensive coordinators, it is Michael Crabtree who is the unsung hero of the team’s receiving corps. In his first two seasons in Silver and Black, Crabtree has quietly put together a pair of highly productive seasons and is undoubtedly a key component to Oakland’s high-powered offense.
When signing with the Raiders in 2015, Michael Crabtree was looking to get his career back on track as his tenure in San Francisco ended on a sour note. Crabtree only played in five games in 2013 due to an Achilles injury and he had a very unproductive season in his last year with the Niners in 2014.
As a result, Reggie McKenzie was able to sign Crabtree while shopping in the bargain bin, bringing him on board via a one-year, $3 million deal a month into free agency. The decision was met without much fanfare from Raider Nation — for one, many remember him laughing on camera when Al Davis passed on him in favor of Darrius Heyward-Bey, and then on the field, many felt he was a past-his-prime receiver that never met his high expectations.
But in 2015, his first season with the Raiders, Crabtree’s production well-exceeded his salary, and he was rewarded with a four-year, $32 million extension for his efforts. Now, through two seasons in Oakland, Crabtree has amassed 174 receptions for 1,925 yards and 17 touchdowns.
On paper, Amari Cooper is listed as the team’s no. 1 receiver, but there is no doubt Crabtree is option 1B. The dynamic duo is one of the best in the NFL today, if not the best. And an great as Cooper has been, Crabtree has been the more consistent player on a week to week basis. While Cooper’s production has dropped off in the second half of each of his first two seasons in the NFL, Crabtree has remained a steady, reliable target for Derek Carr.
Over these last two years, Crabtree has edged Amari in receptions by a count of 174 to 155, and in targets as well — 291 compared to 261. In addition, Crabtree also has more red zone targets (34 to 20), which has resulted in more touchdowns (17 to 10). But despite the better production in several major categories, it’s Cooper that has been elected to consecutive Pro Bowls — not Crabtree.
Sure, you can credit some of Crabtree’s production to the fact that Cooper is the primary focus of the defense and facing the other team’s top cornerback, but that is the luxury of having Crabtree on the opposite side.
More from Just Blog Baby
- Raiders news: Free agent TE Foster Moreau diagnosed with cancer
- Order your Jimmy Garoppolo Las Vegas Raiders gear now
- Las Vegas Raiders: 2023 NFL Draft will make-or-break David Ziegler Era
- Raiders news: Jimmy Garoppolo offered a different kind of deal
- Raiders 2023 NFL Draft: Trading down for an elite DT on Day 1
Another great quality of Crabtree has been his toughness. He has shown a willingness to play through pain with injuries to his finger and ankle, and he has not missed a game since joining the Raiders. His passion while playing is also evident on the field.
If there is one area of concern for Crabtree, it would be that since 2014 he has ranked in the top ten in dropped passes, including an NFL high eight drops in 2016. This is certainly one area he needs to clean up going into this season.
Heading into his age 30 season, Crabtree isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Even with the added options of Jared Cook and Cordarrelle Patterson in the passing game, Raider Nation can expect another season of high production from King Crab.