In the 2020 NFL season, a year with no real off-season for new players to learn a new system, the newly minted Las Vegas Raiders started two rookie receivers and a second-year slot receiver named Hunter Renfrow. When one of those rookies, Bryan Edwards, went down a newly signed veteran took hold of the job and never gave it back.
The Raiders signed Nelson Agholor for the veteran minimum after a tumultuous tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Agholor brought a championship mentality and top end speed to a team that had just used a first round pick on the fastest receiver in the draft. Agholor became a leader in a locker room that wasn’t used to winning and became the team’s No. 1 receiver as Derek Carr’s favorite deep threat of his career.
Agholor set career highs in yards, touchdowns, and yards per reception with Carr and his previous case of the drops was gone. When the Raiders collapsed towards the end of the season, Agholor openly questioned his team’s focus and commitment and became even more beloved amongst fans.
Agholor left for the New England Patriots in the offseason after receiving a contract that the Raiders simply couldn’t match. Agholor was coveted by then Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, now the Raiders head coach, to become rookie Mac Jones’ new deep threat.
Agholor, predictably, wasn’t able to replicate his 2020 success with Carr in 2021. Agholor’s numbers were down across the board and the Patriots invested more heavily in the receiver position in 2022.
There is no guarantee that Agholor is available or will be cut, especially with a $10 million dead cap hit, but his potential departure has been heavily discussed amongst New England media.
By all accounts, Agholor has been impressive during camp, but the Patriots also have a new #1 receiver in Davante Parker, another veteran and team favorite Kendrick Bourne as well as young receivers Jakobi Meyers, Tyquan Thornton, and Kristian Wilkinson. Thornton especially seems like the exact Agholor replacement.
The biggest aspect missing from the Raiders offense is speed. Tyron Johnson is looking to field that role, but Agholor could open the offense in new ways. If the Raiders could have 60% of Agholor’s production from 2020, this would be the best offense in the NFL.
Why the Raiders should bring back Agholor
The reasons for an Agholor addition make sense. He and Carr already have a tremendous repertoire and McDaniels is clearly a fan. It almost makes too much sense. Agholor would be an expensive 4th option, but the Raiders need to use their cap space if they really want to win. Agholor would immediately be an upgrade over Mack Hollins, Keelan Cole, and Tyron Johnson.
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If available, Agholor feels like a signing that could catapult the Raiders to the top of the conference. The Raiders still have obvious needs at right tackle and defensive tackle, but having a field stretching receiver only makes things easier for an offense. If the Raiders could swing an Agholor acquisition, they may become the most feared offense in the NFL.