Even without AB, the Oakland Raiders are improved at wide receiver
By Brad Weiss
The Oakland Raiders may be without Antonio Brown for the foreseeable future, but even without him, their wide receiver group is much improved over 2018.
Last season, the Oakland Raiders finished up the campaign with Jordy Nelson atop the depth chart at wide receiver, and very little behind him. In 2019, the front office made a concerted effort to improve this position group, bringing in elite talent like Antonio Brown in a trade, as well as guys like Tyrell Williams, Ryan Grant, and J.J. Nelson via free agency.
While the team looked to be at full strength heading into their Week 1 matchup against the Denver Broncos, the wheels fell off on Tuesday night. Brown posted his fine letter to Instagram, setting off a firestorm that resulted in him going after general manager Mike Mayock at practice, threatening to punch him.
On Thursday, Brown was not at the facility, and Mayock gave a quick update that he would not be practicing. When the injury report came out, Brown was listed as not having practiced, citing conduct, and not any kind of injury.
In all reality, Brown may not be with the Raiders in Week 1, and it is a real possibility that he will not be there at all this season. If he is released prior to Saturday, the Raiders will be off the hook for his $30 million in guaranteed money, thanks to a change in his contract when he was brought over from Pittsburgh.
Even without Brown, this is a group that is vastly improved over last season, thanks to the deep-threat abilities of Williams, and the speed of Nelson. In addition, fourth round pick Hunter Renfrow is the perfect slot receiver for Jon Gruden’s offense, giving Derek Carr a ton of solid weapons in the passing game at wide receiver.
Over the past two season, the Raiders have been led in receiving yards by their tight end, and they have a good one in place for 2019 in Darren Waller. Overall, the Raiders have a ton of new weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and entering Year 2 in Gruden’s system, Carr should be in for a monster year, even without AB.
Obviously, the Raiders would be a lot better if they had Brown in the lineup every week, as he is one of the more elite players in the game. The bottom line is, his stint in Oakland could end before it even gets started, which is a shame, but is something this roster is going to have to overcome entering Week 1.