The Las Vegas Raiders made a free agency splash on the second day of the legal tampering period. They agreed to a contract with former New England Patriot wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. Coming off one of his best years with 67 receptions, 804 yards, and six touchdowns, Meyers was considered one of the top wide receivers available in free agency and didn’t take long to find a new team. He now joins the Raiders as they look to revamp their offense. They franchise-tagged running back Josh Jacobs and signed Jimmy Garapollo to a three years contract worth $67.5 million. What does this mean for the soon-to-be 27-year-old wide receiver and the other pieces around him?
Jakobi Meyers: No Change
Many of you reading this will wonder why and how this could be. He leaves New England, where he was the clear alpha and number one target, and now is opposite Davante Adams. On top of that, the Raiders have wide receiver, Hunter Renfrow. They cleared some space for Meyers by trading away tight end Darren Waller to the Giants just hours after signing Meyers.
I know Meyers played mainly out of the slot during his time in New England, but it’s not like he can’t play outside. He only played in the slot 65% of the time. Meyers is 6’2” and 200 lbs, so he’s not small. He can easily line up outside and utilize his route running to create space and get open. Let’s also not forget that Adams, on the other side, will be commanding top coverage and usually a double team which opens up the field for Meyers. Will he have the volume he had in New England? Probably not as high, but still serviceable.
First, Meyers was, at best, a WR2 for your team and, in most cases, WR3. He can be that again in Sin City. If we looked at Mack Hollins last year, we see targets to go around. Meyers was averaging 6.8 targets a game last year. Hollins came in at 5.5. You are probably saying that Renfrow and Waller were hurt and missed time. While that is true in the six games where all three played, Hollins still managed to average 4.37 targets, and in two of those games, he had eight targets each. It’s not as if he fell off when those guys were in the game. Meyers is a much better receiver than Mack Hollins. It comes on to the team already familiar with the systems, having spent his whole career with Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator. We also saw Adams get 180 targets, which is on the higher side. If he slides back to his usual 160 number, that leaves more to go around.
Do you want to argue that the Raiders will run the ball more, thus making fewer passing opportunities? Well, in 2022, the Raiders threw the ball 59.2% of the time. The Patriots threw it 57.7% of the time. So Meyers is going to a more pass-friendly team. He will still be a solid WR3 for your fantasy team, and given that Adams will be 31 this year, he looks to be a part of that offense moving forward. The only franchised tagged Jacobs so he could be gone next offseason, and the Raiders could move to a more pass-happy team. Garapollo is an excellent young quarterback who, if not for injuries, would be talked about as a top-ten signal-caller in the league. Only a few years ago, he led his team to the Super Bowl.
The Other Receivers: Stays the same
I don’t think this cuts into anyone’s production that much. If I had to pick a loser, it would be Renfrow. He went into 2022, coming off a breakout season where he saw 128 targets, averaging 7.5 a game. He only played in ten total games in 2022 and averaged only five targets a game. Part of that was due to the injuries not allowing him to be available and Adams coming on board and demanding a large target share. He played the majority of his snaps from the slot, which is the more natural position for Meyers.
If Meyers struggles on the outside, it could mean they move him back into the slot. Then it takes away the opportunities for Renfrow. Adams is Adams. He will get his. I expect he comes back down in the total target numbers but will still be good for close to 1,400 yards and double-digit touchdowns if he plays all 17 games. The Raiders will likely bring in a tight end now that Waller is in the Big Apple. If it’s a rookie, it shouldn’t mess with what that offense is, and even a veteran won’t be more than what Waller was last year. The offense doesn’t change with the addition of Meyers. He will fill the role that Hollins had last year, even if that’s not the slot where Meyers has done some of its best work.
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