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Raiders come to terms with ex-Patriots wide receiver

Updated March 14, 2023 - 6:04 pm

One way to support a defense in need of a major rebuild is to field an offense that can score plenty of points.

That was part of the Raiders’ rationale for acquiring former Patriots wide receiver Jakobi Meyers on Tuesday on a three-year deal worth $33 million, including $21 million in guarantees.

Later in the day, the Raiders doubled down at wide receiver by agreeing to terms with speedy veteran Phillip Dorsett, a former first-round pick and another former Patriots player reuniting with Raiders coach Josh McDaniels. Terms of the contract weren’t available.

Also, they agreed to terms on a one-year contract to bring back fullback Jakob Johnson, a key component to their run game as a lead blocker. Terms weren’t available.

As far as the defense, the Raiders came to terms with former Steelers inside linebacker Robert Spillane on a two-year deal worth up to $9 million, including $4 million in guarantees.

The thought process is that Meyers will team with Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs and Hunter Renfrow in an offense quarterbacked by Jimmy Garoppolo, another former Patriot, designed to get more out of that side of the ball to protect a defense under construction.

Meyers, 26, arrives in Las Vegas from New England, where he spent the first four seasons of his career, including three seasons with McDaniels as his offensive coordinator, and accumulated 235 catches for 2,758 yards and eight touchdowns.

Meyers primarily played in the slot for the Patriots, and while that would appear to infringe on Renfrow, also a slot receiver, the Raiders envision them teaming up in a similar fashion to how McDaniels utilized slot receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman in New England.

Dorsett, 30, adds a speed element that the Raiders sorely missed last season, and his ability to stretch the field should result in a situational role. A first-round pick of the Colts in 2015, Dorsett has 151 catches for 2,001 yards and 12 touchdowns during a career with the Colts, Patriots, Seahawks, Jaguars and Texans.

Elevating the Raiders’ offense by increasing its efficiency is seen as a critical component to the offseason. It’s part of the thought process in adding players with experience in McDaniels’ offense.

The Raiders averaged the 12th-most points in the NFL last season but were ranked 26th in red zone efficiency. Improving the latter would go a long way to push the offense into the top 10 and take pressure off the defense.

Spillane, 27, is coming off a career-high season in tackles (79) and snaps (588) for the Steelers. Originally an undrafted free agent that the Titans signed out of Western Michigan in 2018, he played the past four years in Pittsburgh while accumulating 191 tackles and three sacks.

The moves are expected to become official when the NFL’s new league year begins Wednesday. The Raiders have just over $20 million in cap space, with holes to fill at tight end, offensive line and all levels of the defense.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.

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