Traveling back to March 18, we addressed the addition of Jordy Nelson by the Oakland Raiders. Since, Oakland has added Martavis Bryant via a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
To recap Nelson’s outlook, what was discussed in March largely holds true today.
Quarterback Derek Carr’s favorite target has been released, which was rumored to be in the works for months because of a high cap figure. Green Bay’s surprise release of Nelson, and his subsequent signing with Oakland, made axing Crabtree a reality.
Crabtree averaged a healthy nine looks per game in his first two seasons with the Raiders. He still managed nearly eight per contest in his 13 outings last season. Targets won’t be an issue for Nelson. He didn’t come to the Bay Area to stand around. Chemistry needs to be established, and there’s no doubt he will work closely with Carr during the offseason.
The biggest area of concern for Nelson is how much does he have left in the tank. Is there one more monster season left in there? We saw a totally different player when Aaron Rodgers went down in 2017. It is easy to blame Brett Hundley for the regression, but Nelson fell so far off the map that there really could be more to it. When wide receivers “lose it” in the NFL, most tend to precipitously regress. Separation through precise route running has always been Nelson’s hallmark, but if the feet don’t move like required, his tool chest immediately becomes barren. Due to this style of creating separation, timing and chemistry with his quarterback are everything.
Nelson is a risk-reward WR2 in both scoring systems. His days of 90-plus receptions and 14 or more scores are almost certainly behind him in his age-33 season. Look for his trademark big plays to remain a staple of Nelson’s game — since becoming a regular starter in 2011, he has a season long of at least 58 yards in each year. It would be more likely to see him post lower reception and yardage figures and high TD numbers than a purely dominant statistical output.
After working with the former Packer…