With only three healthy wide receivers able to play Sunday evening against the Chicago Bears, it really seemed like a matter of when not if the Oakland Raiders would make a move to bolster that position group.
That move officially came down Tuesday afternoon, when Head Coach Jon Gruden announced that the team had acquired wide receiver Zay Jones from the Buffalo Bills.
“We did add a receiver in a trade last night,” said Gruden Tuesday. “We traded Buffalo to get Zay Jones, a young man we liked coming out of East Carolina, who’s got some production in the league.”
As Gruden acknowledged, Jones has indeed been productive since he entered the league as a second-round draft pick in 2017, leading the Buffalo Bills in receptions a year ago, as well as hauling in five touchdowns in the month of December – tied for the league lead during that time.
“I like him. He was a very productive guy in college,” Gruden said. “He played in the slot. He played split end and flanker. Tough guy. Smart. I just think he has a lot of natural skills that were really well worth looking into, and with all our injuries, I really credit Mike Mayock, his staff for the two trades that we’ve made. Trevor Davis has really paid big dividends for us, and we expect more of the same from Zay.”
Jones’ addition to the active roster is important for numerous reasons, but it could be an early indication that the trio of Dwayne Harris, J.J. Nelson and Tyrell Williams are not as close to returning as previously thought.
“Those are three veteran receivers that we expected to play, and not sure of their status, but we have to get ready to play Green Bay,” explained Gruden. “They [Green Bay] play a lot of bump and run, a lot of man-to-man, so we’ll start teaching Zay the plays, and all that good stuff after we’re done with this.”
For his career, Jones has appeared in 36 games with 27 starts, hauling in 90 catches for 1,037 yards and nine touchdowns; he’ll likely participate in his first practice in Silver and Black early next week when the team returns from the bye.
In exchange for Jones, the Raiders sent a 2021 draft pick to the Bills.
Take a look at the top photos from this past Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as the Raiders beat the Chicago Bears in London.