It remains to be seen whether or not wide receiver Jerry Porter will return to the Oakland Raiders in 2005 but his quarterback firmly believes the team should make a strong effort to keep the fifth-year receiver.
Porter stated in October that he planned to void the last year of his contract and test the free agent market. Porter's desire stemmed from the Raiders' alleged desire to trade him as well as his frustration over not having enough passes thrown his way. Porter's stance has changed very little since October but said in an Associated Press report Wednesday that he expected the team to have made headway by now on retaining him heading into Sunday's regular season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
"It's in their hands," Porter said in the AP story. "It's Week 17 and they haven't even offered. I've got to get on with my life. If they don't want to, I've got to move on. I figured I might have heard something by now, but what do you do? Play this last game out and fulfill my contractual obligations."
While Porter has been a bigger part of the offense in recent weeks; he expected to have a bigger role in 2004 considering the Raiders parted ways with future Hall-of-Famers Jerry Rice and Tim Brown. Porter leads the team with 61 catches for 963 yards and nine touchdowns heading into Sunday. His production has skyrocketed, however, in recent weeks.
Before Oakland's 25-24 win over Denver on Nov. 28 in a nationally televised game; Porter openly talked about showcasing his skills for the purpose of auditioning for free agency. Including that game, Porter has caught 23 passes for 440 yards and eight touchdowns. Nonetheless, it begs the question of will Porter's production continue after getting the big contract he desires? How much of his recent production tied with his desire to audition himself for other teams?
Both are fair questions but Raiders quarterback Kerry Collins strong believes that resigning Porter should be at the top of the team's priority list.
"I think it's very important to bring him back," Collins said. "I think we need to sign Jerry Porter. I've gotten a good rapport established with him. He can be a 75-80 catch guy in this system with no problem. I think it's one of the most important things for this offseason. We've gotten something started and he's a big part of what we like to do in this offense. Hopefully, they can get something worked out."
Vince D'Adamo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org