Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The Oakland Raiders’ signing of former Minnesota Vikings kick returner and wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson should provide a spark in two of the game’s three phases, earning the move a grade of B+.
The Raiders are expected to lose wide receiver and special teams ace Andre Holmes, making the move by general manager Reggie McKenzie proactive and wise.
Patterson has been a dynamic kick returner his entire career, averaging 30.4 yards per kick return while scoring five touchdowns in four seasons. For context, the Raiders kick returning duo of Jalen Richard and Taiwan Jones averaged just over 20 yards per return in 2016.
Patterson also spent time as a gunner on special teams in Minnesota, which means he conceivably could help replace the loss of former Raiders gunner Holmes if Raiders coach Jack Del Rio chooses to use him so.
On offense, the addition of Patterson should excite Raider Nation given his explosiveness and versatility. Despite the narrative, Patterson is a decent wide receiver who has expanded his route tree in recent seasons.
But if Patterson finds his way into the No. 3 receiver spot for Oakland, he’ll be expected to take his game to a different level. That is because elite Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will be throwing him passes, and Patterson will face single coverage weekly with star Raiders wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper flanking him.
Despite having over $40 million in cap space, the Raiders are one of the more cap-strapped teams in the league. They can’t spend most of that $40 million because a healthy chunk is expected to go to Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack and Carr this offseason.
Patterson’s salary is reported to be over $5 million for 2017, making it pricier than some feel the Carolina native is worth.
The healthy price tag for a player who disappointed as a first-round pick elsewhere, ended up being the only fact that stopped this move from earning an A.