Raiders feel Jordy Nelson better fit for Jon Gruden’s offense than Michael Crabtree
One of the many changes that the Oakland Raiders underwent this offseason was deciding to part ways with veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree. This came just two years in this his four-year, $34 million deal with the team.
In response to that move, the Raiders decided to ink former Pro Bowl wide receiver Jordy Nelson, which many have viewed as being a swapping of players at the position. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, general manager Reggie McKenzie saw the move as bringing a player that better fit in their offensive game plan under head coach Jon Gruden.
Asked Reggie McKenzie why they swapped Crabtree for Nelson: “Better fit for Gruden’s offense.”
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) March 26, 2018
The discussion about potentially parting ways with Crabtree had originally come about not long after the Raiders’ season finale 30-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. In the weeks that followed, this chatter remained until the team decided to finally pull the plug a few days after the start of NFL free agency. However, these comments from McKenzie could come off as being a bit of slight against Crabtree not being an effective fit into the offensive scheme that Gruden will implement.
What may have factored into the decision was that he was coming off a disappointing season where he had a notable drop off with 58 catches for 618 receiving yards and a team-high eight touchdowns in 14 games played. He was a non-factor in the passing game in several contests recording fewer than 50 receiving yards six times and was also held without a reception in two games. This also ended his streak of 121 consecutive games with at least one reception.
Meanwhile, Nelson is also coming off a season where he saw his numbers fall with 53 receptions for 482 receiving yards and six touchdowns. This marked the lowest amount of receptions and receiving yards since the 2010 season. What should also be taken into consideration that All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers was out of the mix for nine games due to a broken collarbone last season while he struggled to produce with backup Brett Hundley.
Ultimately, McKenzie’s statement can come only be proven right if Nelson can become an integral part of the Raiders offense while producing at a high level. In other words, time will tell if this was the correct move.