EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Raiders are likely to stay status quo at wide receiver when they play the New York Giants on Sunday.
For now, Zay Jones will be the replacement for Henry Ruggs, who the Raiders released on Tuesday after Ruggs was involved in a car crash that killed a 23-year-old woman. He was arrested and faces charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving.
But that does not mean help isn’t on the way.
In the span of a couple of days this week, two NFL wide receivers offering enticing possibilities to the Raiders were abruptly waived by their former teams. While DeSean Jackson has already cleared waivers after being cut by the Los Angeles Rams and is free to sign with the team of his choosing, the Raiders might choose to wait for the Odell Beckham situation to clear up before making a decision on what direction to take.
Beckham was released on Friday by the Cleveland Browns, and his waiver wire process will push through to Monday. The Raiders, sitting at the 25th spot in the pecking order, have a slugger’s chance of Beckham falling to them. If he clears waivers, he would be a strong possibility as a free agent signing.
According to multiple industry sources, the release of Ruggs has the Raiders interested in both Jackson and Beckham. The patience they have shown not rushing into an agreement with Jackson suggests the Raiders want to weigh all options.
With everyone’s roster set before this weekend’s games, it seems unlikely someone would sign Jackson a day before their game, then cut someone to make room for him, even though chances are slim he’d be able to play.
More likely, any team that signs Jackson will wait until the beginning of next week as it gives him and his new club a head start in getting ready for next week’s games.
Additionally, the contract anyone offers Jackson will undoubtedly be a league minimum figure in which the Rams pick up the remaining balance of his 2021 contract. That means Jackson won’t be choosing a new home based on financial considerations but rather fit and location.
A week ago the Raiders would have been a distant option for Jackson, who was voicing displeasure with his limited role in Los Angeles and probably wasn’t going to get a much larger role with the Raiders.
But that all changed with the Ruggs situation. As a result, a clear path is open to the speedy Jackson seamlessly moving into an enhanced role in Las Vegas. The Raiders also offer proximity to his home base in Southern California.
For both reasons, the Raiders are in a decent position to allow the Beckham situation to get sorted out before turning to Jackson.
Jackson still has some juice as a long-ball threat, as he showed with his eight catches totaling 221 yards with the Rams. The problem wasn’t talent as much as it was opportunity.
Beckham, though, represents the more complete wide receiver assuming he is healthy. At 29 years old, he certainly isn’t the player he was when he burst onto the scene as a New York Giant in 2014. But it was only two seasons ago that he put together a 1,035-yard season.
A knee injury limited him to just seven games last year, and he’s been dealing with a shoulder injury this season. That, combined with spotty chemistry with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, has resulted in just 17 catches for 232 yards.
Clearly, the Raiders would have to figure out his physical condition and mental state after being released. They can’t afford a combustible personality into their tightly knit locker room.
If he checks out in both areas, and he either falls to the Raiders in the waiver process or springs free as a free agent, his talent would be a fit on a team with an MVP-caliber quarterback and playoff aspirations.
For now, though, it’s a waiting game.
■ Who: Raiders at New York Giants
■ When: 10 a.m. Sunday
■ Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
■ TV: KLAS-8
■ Line: Raiders -3; total 46
Visit www.lvrj.com/henryruggs for the latest on the fatal crash involving former Raider Henry Ruggs.