The Raiders have millions to spend in free agency, plus a need at wide receiver.
So when news surfaced recently that the Houston Texans will soon release or trade veteran wideout Andre Johnson, some NFL observers were putting two and two together to put Johnson in an Oakland uniform.
But as Bill Williamson of ESPN.com wrote this week, the marriage wouldn’t be a perfect one. It might be much wiser for the Raiders to upgrade at the position through the draft or with a younger free agent.
As Williamson wrote, the pairing “May not make a whole lot of football sense. Johnson turns 34 in July and his game is slipping. Oakland needs an impact receiver and is expected to address the need in both free agency and the draft. The only way Johnson may be a fit for the Raiders is if he plays in a limited role, but that’s why Johnson is leaving the only NFL city he has known, because he doesn’t want a reduced role.”
Johnson will be entering his 13th season, but has remained productive. This past season, he caught 85 passes for 936 yards and three touchdowns. In 2012 and 2013, he had 112- and 109-catch seasons, each for more than 1,400 yards. So, despite his age, Johnson is effective.
Plus, as Williamson noted, he and Raiders quarterback Derek Carr are friends. Johnson played with Derek’s older brother, David, in Houston, and Johnson used to spend time with the Carr family.
But a Johnson-Carr reunion doesn’t make all that much sense for a franchise that wants to cast off its image as a home for aging veterans. The Raiders went that route in free agency last offseason, and it didn’t work well. This offseason, general manager Reggie McKenzie wants to bring in impact players in the prime of their careers.
With the fourth pick in the draft, the Raiders could land one of the best pass catchers available – such as Amari Cooper or Kevin White – and add a free agent such as Randall Cobb or Jeremy Maclin.