In his two seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, wide receiver Brandon LaFell proved to be a fine option for quarterback Andy Dalton.
In 2017 LaFell had 52 catches for 548 yards and three touchdowns. In 2016, he had 64 receptions for 862 yards and six scores.
Now LaFell will be catching passes for the Oakland Raiders, starting this Monday night in the team’s regular-season opener vs. the Los Angeles Rams.
LaFell, 31, was added to the roster Monday after Martavis Bryant – acquired in the offseason for a third-round draft pick – was released. To make room on the roster, the Raiders released Johnny Holton. LaFell, at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds – gives Oakland an experienced, tall wide receiver. LaFell has played eight seasons in the NFL and caught 394 passes for a 13.4-yard average and 29 touchdowns. The former third-round pick by the Carolina Panthers out of LSU in 2010 played four seasons with the Panthers, two with New England and two in Cincinnati. He has a Super Bowl ring from his time with the Patriots. He was granted his release by the Bengals in August.
He’s not an exceptionally fast wide receiver, but he does give quarterback Derek Carr another reliable, tall target downfield.
As Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported this week, the Raiders may yet add another receiver in the next day or two to get more speed on the roster. Gehlken reported former Raiders wideout Brice Butler – who played for Dallas last season – also worked out Monday, but was not signed.
For now the wide receivers on the roster are Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson, Seth Roberts, LaFell, Dwayne Harris and Keon Hatcher.
LaFell told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group Monday that he’s eager to get into the flow of things and help make a difference vs. the Rams in the opener.
“I’m about to go see the receiver coach (Edgar Bennett) one-on-one,” LaFell told McDonald after he was signed Monday. “They want me to get on the board and get me familiar with the terminology so hopefully I can help as soon as possible.”
The Raiders-Rams game Monday night is set to kick off at 7:20.