The Oakland Raiders locked up receiver Seth Roberts for the next three years with a $12 million contract Wednesday. The undrafted free agent from West Alabama announced the signing on Twitter, and is sure to be an integral part of what the Raiders are trying to do out in Oakland.
Roberts is the blue collar worker of the Raiders receiving corps. He doesn’t get the attention from opposing defenses or the media the way fellow wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree do. But his play on the field is every bit as important.
Seth Roberts Signs Three-Year Deal to Remain With Oakland Raiders
Over the last two seasons, Roberts has amassed 70 receptions for 877 yards and ten touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who shares the work load with two Pro Bowlers
Roberts’ work ethic and willingness to take a back seat to his fellow wide receivers is just one reason why the Raiders want to keep him in the Silver and Black. The main reason Oakland wants Roberts in their uniform for a few more years is that he has been the most clutch receiver in the NFL over the last two years.
Since the beginning of the 2015 season, four of Roberts’ ten touchdowns have been game winners, the most in the NFL during that span. And if that fact isn’t enough to justify keeping the 26 year-old employed, a 9-0 record when he scores at least one touchdown is.
A Drop In Production
Roberts has great ball skills. He catches balls with his hands away from his body, plucking passes out of the air at their highest point.
Yet in 2016 he had a drop rate of 6.5% on 77 targets. His catch percentage fell from 58.2% his rookie year, to 49.4% during his sophomore season. These aren’t the type of numbers that build confidence in offensive coordinators.
Dropped passes are a very big deal, but when a player’s overall production takes a dive, the prospect of being released becomes a very real thing.
Roberts’ numbers took a drastic drop over the course of the 2016 season, leaving the Raiders staff wondering what had changed in the young pass catcher.
Through the first half of the 2016 season, Roberts complied 25 receptions, 277 yards and four touchdowns. During the second half, his production slowed, and many believed that the Raiders were going to let Roberts go.
Finding The Right Man For The Job
A former first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, Patterson built a name for himself as an All-Pro kick returner. His career as a wide receiver, however, leaves much to be desired.
This is a win-win for Oakland. If Patterson pans out, they will have both a threat in the slot, and sure-fire weapon in the return game. If he fails to impress coaches, the move to bring him on-board will have pushed Roberts to be that much better.
Through three games this preseason, Patterson gathered seven receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown. That ended up not being enough to change the mind of Oakland’s coaching staff.
So, with his new contract signed, Roberts has secured his spot as the number three receiver in Oakland’s high powered passing attack for years to come.