Raiders quarterback Derek Carr completed 25 passes Sunday in a 24-21 victory over the Chicago Bears. Only seven of them were caught by wide receivers.
Those receptions went for 65 yards, and one catch got punched out just inches from the goal line.
That sums up the state of the Raiders receiver corps, ailing without Tyrell Williams, J.J. Nelson and Dwayne Harris versus the Bears.
The Raiders also felt compelled to make another move to strengthen this position group. They added Zay Jones from Buffalo, a source said Monday. They acquired Davis for a 2021 fifth-round draft pick, and will integrate him during this week’s bye.
It’s a sign that the Raiders are still trying to get more from a position once considered an overwhelming team strength. That was back with Antonio Brown was on the roster, with Williams as the No. 2.
Brown was gone just before the regular season, leaving in a mushroom cloud. Ryan Grant was ineffective enough to get cut, and Williams has been dealing with a foot injury after tallying four touchdowns in as many games. Nelson had a strong start to training camp, but has battled ankle and leg injuries since mid-August.
It’s unknown at this time if the Jones acquisition suggests one of the ailing receivers will be down a while — Gruden said he hoped Williams would be back after the bye, though Nelson’s in an unknown injury state after some recent setbacks — but it’s crystal clear the Raiders aren’t getting enough from the position group.
This marks the third receiver trade since March. They gave up 2019 third and fifth round picks for Brown. They traded a 2020 sixth-round pick to Green Bay for Trevor Davis. Now they’ve given up another pick for Jones.
The trade, and its corresponding roster subtraction, has not been formally announced. It’s possible Marcell Ateman simply returns to the practice squad after a quick promotion for the Bears game.
Fans are tired of hearing about Brown, but that failed attempt to add an elite talent still is felt around here from a football perspective. He was supposed to be an offensive centerpiece, and was cut right before the season. The Raiders had to adjust on the fly from a schematic perspective.
And, if they could’ve predicted the Brown blowup, they obviously would’ve added another receiver, likely high in the NFL draft.
Now they’re left to retool that position group while surging to a 3-2 record and renewed optimism about the season. The Raiders are also getting quality production from the line, tight ends, running backs and Carr. Doing better at wideout would help this offense become more complete.
Can Jones help out when the Raiders play again in a Week 7 clash at Green Bay? Let’s take a closer look.
He stands 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, with 92 catches for 1,057 yards and nine touchdowns over two-plus seasons. He had seven TDs last year while averaging 11.6 yards per catch. Bills fans seem happy to see him go, flooding my timeline with videos of his drops. He has struggled in that area, with eight drops, per Pro Football Focus, though he hasn’t been credited with one this year.
Jones has only caught 50 percent of his targets, and just 43.9 percent of his targets this season. That’s not a good sum, and hasn’t been an active member of the Bills offense through five games.
The 24-year-old played just one offensive snap in a Sunday loss to Tennessee.
Jones will have an opportunity to contribute quickly to the Raiders, who are looking for more from a receiver corps that has dealt with significant adversity already in this young season.