Derek Hagan and Denarius Moore managed to crack the Raiders 53-man roster last season based on strong showings in training camp and exhibition games. Moore is a lock for the 2012 team. Hagan ultimately was released, and signed with the Buffalo Bills.
For now, the Raiders have Darrius Heyward-Bey, Jacoby Ford, Moore and Louis Murphy under contract. That leaves one or two spots to be filled, assuming the Raiders don’t re-sign free-agents-to-be Chaz Schilens and/or T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
In a perfect world, the Raiders would go after a big-name receiver such as Vincent Jackson, who escaped the franchise tag and is headed for unrestricted free agency.
In Jackson, the Raiders would get a legitimate No. 1 target for quarterback Carson Palmer and someone who would take off pressure from the other receivers.
The Raiders also wouldn’t have to worry about covering Jackson twice a year any longer as they have the past seven seasons when he starred for the San Diego Chargers.
Some feel as if the Raiders are set at receiver. Problem is, that’s based on Heyward-Bey’s breakout season in 2011 and the potential of Ford and Moore. None has accomplished in a season what Jackson has several times during his NFL career.
Three times, Jackson amassed at least 1,098 yards in a season, and he has averaged a gaudy 17.5 yards per reception for his career. Make no mistake, the Raiders aren’t set at receiver and there’s room for a receiver with Jackson’s skill set.
It’s possible that Heyward-Bey, Moore or Ford one day will reach such a level. That’s the predicament facing general manager Reggie McKenzie, projecting what he has vs. what he needs from his receivers.
Signing a big-time receiver such as Jackson won’t come cheaply. The Raiders aren’t flush with salary-cap room and aren’t in a position to compete with some teams loaded with cap room. However, it can be done, as long as Jackson is willing to take more money in latter years, beginning in 2013.
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