Since the end of the 2017 season, there has been much uncertainty surrounding veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree’ future with the Oakland Raiders. He has been the subject of various rumors involving his potential release.
This has once again become the top of discussion with the Raiders pushing forward a strong pursuit of former Green Bay Packers wideout Jordy Nelson. According to Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network, the front office is expected to part ways with Crabtree if Nelson is brought aboard via free agency:
If the #Raiders finalize a deal with WR Jordy Nelson, they are likely to release WR Michael Crabtree, who has a $7.7M cap hit. That is in their plans.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 15, 2018
Crabtree is set to enter the third year of his four-year, $34 million deal that will pay him $7.7 million and $8.2 million in 2019. What has lent to the possibility that the Raiders could move on from is that fact there is no dead money attached to letting him go as his salary would essentially be added to their salary cap space this offseason.
There had previously been some reports that Crabtree would return next season, but the addition of Nelson would essentially find his replacement in the passing game to pair alongside Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper. Nelson could also provide leadership in the locker room and much-needed playoff experience
The 30-year-old is coming off a disappointing 2017 season where he recorded a team-high 58 catches for 618 receiving yards and a team-high eight touchdowns in 14 games played. This was a notable drop off from the previous year where he notched 89 receptions for 1,003 receiving yards, which was just his second campaign with 1,000 receiving yards.
Crabtree was a non-factor in several contests in the 2017 campaign recording 50 or fewer receiving yards six times and was held without a catch twice. This saw his streak of 121 consecutive games with at least one reception being snapped. He had also received a one-game suspension for his skirmish with newly acquired Los Angeles Rams cornerback Aqib Talib.
If Crabtree is cut by the Raiders, there is believed to be interested in returning to play in his home state for one of the Texas teams in the Dallas Cowboys or Houston Texans. This is something to keep a close eye on over the next couple days.