Can Johnson And Finley Find New Life In Oakland?
The Oakland Raiders are already bursting at the seams with wide receivers and they haven’t looked half bad at the tight end position. But rumors continue to fly that the Raiders want some more sure hands downfield. Veteran pass catchers Andre Johnson and Jermichael Finley keep popping up.
The Raiders currently have a 12-man receiving corps, including recently signed undrafted free agents and veterans James Jones and Greg Little. Despite Juron Criner’s sophomore slump last season, he reportedly was the Raiders’ most impressive receiver in OTAs. With the right quarterback at the helm, maybe Criner will finally have his breakout season.
Oakland’s veteran wideouts, including Denarius Moore and Rod Streater, still have the youth and talent to make big plays, but does that talent lead to winning football games? Moore’s lack of consistency in OTAs had better mean a stellar training camp, or he may be looking for a new home before the season starts. Streater and Jones are tentatively scheduled to start, but Johnson could add some additional pep deep.
Andre Johnson, 32, is contemplating a holdout from the Houston Texans. He will be starting his 12th year with the team, and he isn’t happy. Despite a career 12,661 receiving yards and 61 touchdowns, this explosive receiver still hasn’t enjoyed a championship. He’s had seven seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards. His rookie year, he missed that plateau by only 24 yards. He is still on the low end of 30 and at 6-3 and 230 pounds, he makes a big target. He is older than Jones, but Jones doesn’t have near the numbers of Johnson.
If Oakland is looking for a No.1 wideout, who can rack up the yardage, Johnson would get the opportunity to catch passes from his former teammate Matt Schaub. Despite a 2-14 season in 2013, Johnson and Schaub still made for a formidable duo. If Johnson demands a trade, it’s possible that Raiders QB Matt McGloin could go to the Texans. According to Sports World Report, the Texans are looking at some depth at quarterback, and McGloin would be reunited with his former Penn State coach Bill O’Brien if Houston happened to acquire him.
As for tight ends, David Ausberry is back from injury and slated to start for the Raiders. He will have to prove himself worthy of the position, especially after rookie Mychal Rivera looked so good -- 38 receptions for 407 yards and four touchdowns last season. Still on the depth chart are Nick Kasa, who started to flash at the end of the season, and Brian Leonhardt, if given half a chance.
So does Oakland need another tight end? If Ausberry starts to slip, Jermichael Finley, 27, would be a welcomed addition. In his six years with Green Bay he had 324 catches for 2,785 yards and 20 TDs. The main concern about Finley is his health. He nearly suffered a career-ending injury last season and required neck-fusion surgery. According to chatsports.com, Finley has connections to Reggie McKenzie and, if anything, his presence would push the Raiders’ young tight ends to do better. Green Bay doesn’t appear interested in having him back, so he could do worse than get some reps with the Raiders and perhaps end his career on a positive note.