With a new head coach a possibility, the Oakland Raiders may also replace Michael Crabtree as Amari Cooper’s sidekick.
After going 12-4 last year, the Oakland Raiders were looking forward to taking the next step with Derek Carr healthy this year. But it was not to be, with a 6-9 record entering Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Head coach Jack Del Rio may be fired, and replaced by Jon Gruden. But the Raiders are reportedly ready to move on from a key player as well.
According to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Raiders are ready to move on from wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Crabtree leads the team in receptions (56) and receiving touchdowns (eight) through 15 games this year, and he’s second on the team in receiving yards (601). But his production has fallen lately, with 23 receptions over the last six games and less than 60 yards in five of those games. Gehlken also reported a “measure of dysfunction” behind the scenes between Crabtree and the team.
Crabtree had 174 catches over the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and he has 25 touchdowns over his three seasons with the Raiders. But that may not be not worth the $7 million he’s due to make next season, at age 31, in the third year of the four-year contract extension he signed late in 2015.
The Raiders can release Crabtree and carry no dead money on the salary cap, which is a huge factor in any decision to let him go. That extra space can be used to add a younger No. 2 wide receiver to go with Amari Cooper, and Khalil Mack is next in line for a contract extension very soon.
There is a market for productive possession receivers. So if the Raiders do cut him, even with off-field drama apparently paving the way for his exit, Crabtree should have no trouble finding a new team.