Keyshawn in Oakland?

The Oakland Raiders have revamped their offense over the last month, jettisoning Randy Moss to New England and adding a trio of players to the wide receiver mix. Which begs the question – where would Keyshawn Johnson fit?

With 814 receptions and 10.571 yards under his career belt the easy answer would be anywhere. He has averaged 74 receptions over an 11-year career that began in 1996 when he was the number one overall selection by the New York Jets.

A possession receiver that has never been afraid of going over the middle, Keyshawn Johnson would provide a reliable target for Josh McCown and/or JaMarcus Russell.

"He just brings the aura that a lot of guys don't have and that's confidence," Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith said. "With confidence some people take that as cocky, but it's not that. It's helped me individually."

But do the Raiders need him?

Oakland already has Jerry Porter and Ronald Curry on the roster – both capable of hauling in 50-80 passes. Doug Gabriel offers a legitimate deep threat that can stretch the defenses and open up the offense for underneath routes to rookie Zach Miller and recent addition and fellow USC alumni Mike Williams.

Williams is entering his third year in the league after being drafted in the first round by the Detroit Lions. He may not have panned out for the Lions but is still only 23-years old and has legitimate upside.

Johnson has never been a red zone threat and Williams has, albeit in college and largely unproven in the NFL.

With four receivers begging for some action, Johnson would be number five. But that is without Alvis Whitted who was re-signed this off-season, and Johnnie Lee Higgins and Jonathan Holland – both drafted by the Silver and Black in the NFL Draft. Oh yea – they still have Johnnie Morant on the roster as well.

Johnson may have family out in Oakland but he is no fool. Never at a loss for words, Johnson has set no timetable for making a decision and will go to the team that offers him the best chance to win another Super Bowl.

The Raiders may be on the upswing but they are not a true contender at this stage of the game.

It has been suggested that they are suitors for Johnson but the truth is they are listening – always listening – to any overtures Johnson has to play with them. They have solid depth at receiver but would be silly not to look at Johnson.

As for those who say a deal is imminent, that is a farce. Johnson won't make a decision until training camp – he doesn't need to.

"There is no frontrunner for his services at this point," a league source said. "He has time to make a decision and I would be surprised if Oakland is in the mix when he does."

Johnson would certainly add value but the Raiders are rebuilding and need to build from within. The days of adding veterans to piece the puzzle together are over – even if this wideout deserves a look.

Want to know where he ends up? Green Bay – if only to placate the rift being created between Brett Favre and the Packers. Head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed interest.

"I think anytime you can upgrade your football team with a veteran, or with a younger player, that's something that you look at," said McCarthy. "Obviously, Keyshawn has been very productive in the National Football League. I think you have to look at all of the situations, and that's what we do."

The only team to setup an official visit with Johnson is the Tennessee Titans, a team he will meet with the coming weeks.


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