In the 2013 season, rookie Mychal Rivera led Oakland Raiders tight ends with 38 catches.
On a team desperate for playmakers, Oakland got very little production from its tight ends.
Now, there’s a familiar face available: Brandon Myers.
Myers, who played four seasons for the Raiders, is now a free agent. Recently, the New York Giants – who signed Myers last offseason to a four-year deal – voided the final three years of his contract because Myers didn’t fulfill specific performance clauses in his deal.
Myers, who had led the Raiders in receiving in 2012 with 79 catches for 806 yards and four touchdowns, signed a four-year, $14.25 million deal with the Giants. But in his one season in New York, Myers had just 47 receptions for 522 yards and four scores, and New York decided to void the final three years of his contract to save $3.25 million against their salary cap for 2014.
So, Myers’ disappointing season on the East Coast produced more receptions than the two rookies Oakland drafted in 2012 to help replace him. Nick Kasa had six catches, giving the rookie tandem 44.
The question is, would the Raiders bring Myers back?
Obviously, he felt very comfortable as a receiver in Oakland and was a valuable contributor to the offense in 2012. After serving as a backup his first three seasons and having catch totals of four, 12 and 16 from 2009-11, he became quarterback Carson Palmer’s go-to receiver in 2012.
So, general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen could bring him back. Oakland goes into the offseason with the most flexibility under the salary cap of any team in the NFL.
However, it’s more likely the Raiders would choose to spend that money elsewhere. Rivera, especially, showed good receiving skills in his first season and improved as a blocker. Plus, David Ausberry – who lost all of 2013 with an injury – should be ready to play in 2014. He’s signed through 2014 and is owed just $645,000 this coming season. Ausberry, Rivera and Kasa would give the Raiders a trio of young, inexpensive tight ends with some upside still to develop.
Plus, one of the reasons the Giants decided to part ways with Myers was apparently their dissatisfaction with his blocking ability – which also had been the knock against him in Oakland.
In fact, when the Giants signed Myers off his big receiving year in Oakland, he had been rated by Pro Football Focus as the worst run-blocking tight end in the NFL.
Under McKenzie and Allen, the Raiders are trying to establish themselves as a more fundamental team that can run the ball, and Myers may not fit the mold of what they’re looking for in a tight end now.
Though Myers would be an upgrade as a pass-catcher, it seems a long shot that Oakland would bring him back when it needs to invest so heavily in a quarterback, the offensive line and defense.
As McKenzie said following the 2013 season, the Raider have “needs” not one, big need. “Definitely we lack talent in some areas, no question,” he said.