Oakland Raiders: Why Signing Josh Cribbs Was a Great Move


Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has made no shortage of big moves this offseason, and on Wednesday night afternoon he made yet another one.

Media reports broke out that the Raiders had signed wide receiver and return specialist Josh Cribbs to a one-year contract. There are plenty of good things to take away from the big news, but here are some of the main points.

Dec 16, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cribbs (16) during a game against the Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Washington won 38-21. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

First off, Cribbs is a tremendous playmaker. As a wide receiver, he really isn’t anything too special, as last season, he caught just seven passes for 63 yards. But that is beside the point.

Where Cribbs really excels is kickoff returns. He’s a game-changer when it comes to special teams; there is just no denying it. The former Cleveland Brown has returned three punts for touchdowns in his eight-year career, but he is also tied with Leon Washington for the all-time record in career kick-return touchdowns, as they both have eight. Cribbs has also racked over 10,015 kick-return yards during his tenure in the NFL.

It’s always good to bring in some solid playmakers, and in this case, it’s especially good. Cribbs will be joining an organization that adores speed and quickness, and he will instantly be able to show the coaching staff something that they fully expect him to: his speed.

Jacoby Ford, the Raiders’ usual kickoff and punt returner, suffered a Lisfranc injury last year and was forced to miss most of the team’s 2012-2013 season. It will be interesting to see who will take over the special teams duties for this team, although I definitely believe that it will be Cribbs. I don’t think the Raiders would have brought in Cribbs if they weren’t going to give him the starting nod right away. After all, that is what he has made his career off of.

Another key ingredient to this deal is that the Raiders signed Cribbs to a one-year deal. These types of contracts are typically thrown at players who are aging and needing to prove to a team that they still have gas left in their tank. This is especially true in Cribbs’ case. Speed generally declines in elite athletes over time, and many teams probably assumed that the eight-year veteran out of Kent State is washed up and has no value. However, I don’t believe that’s true.

On his new one-year deal, Cribbs will have everything to prove. Not just to the Raiders coaching staff, but to the whole league as well. He needs to show the league that he is still the explosive return man and wide receiver that he once was.

With that said, the Raiders are in a perfect position. If Cribbs flourishes with their system and proves himself worthy of staying, then Oakland will be able to throw him a longer deal and snag him for a few more of his glory years.

McKenzie proved himself yet again on Wednesday afternoon as a brilliant mastermind at this whole general manager scheme, and the Raiders hope Cribbs will be able to prove his value to the Raiders just as well.