It took Keelan Cole a while before he landed a free agency deal in 2022, with the Raiders signing him more than a week after last year’s draft. The team is locking the veteran wide receiver down days into the new league year.
Cole will return to the Raiders on a one-year pact, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Raiders lost auxiliary wideout Mack Hollins to the Falcons on Sunday but will retain Cole, who played a regular role in Josh McDaniels‘ first season at the helm. The team will further add to the back end of its receiver room by signing Cam Sims as well, Ben Standig of The Athletic tweets.
[RELATED: Raiders To Sign WR Phillip Dorsett]
The Raiders have eight-figure-per-year commitments to four skill-position players — Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow, Jakobi Meyers, Josh Jacobs — so it should be fairly clear where Cole will reside in Jimmy Garoppolo‘s aerial pecking order. The former Jaguars pass catcher is coming off a 10-reception, 141-yard season in the desert. He did add a touchdown — a disputed score against the Patriots that preceded Meyers’ infamous lateral attempt — last season, and Hollins’ departure figures to open up more opportunities.
But the Adams-Renfrow-Meyers setup will effectively cap — barring injury issues — what Cole, Sims and Dorsett will be able to produce in 2023. These additions will, however, create competition for the team’s backup receiver roles.
This will be Cole’s age-30 season. The Division III success story led the AFC championship game-bound Jaguars in receiving yards (748) in 2017, and he posted 642 yards and a career-high five touchdown catches with Jacksonville in 2020.
Cole did not see action on much of Las Vegas’ special teams plays last season, but Sims has been more active in that area recently. The 6-foot-5 ex-Washington contributor played 53% of the Commanders’ ST snaps in 2022. Sims has spent the entirety of his five-year career in Washington. Still struggling to find a higher-end complement to Terry McLaurin in 2020, Washington turned to Sims. The Alabama alum-turned-UDFA caught 32 passes for 477 yards that year and added a seven-catch, 104-yard outing against the Buccaneers in a closer-than-expected wild-card game.
Sims, 27, was not a big part of Washington’s passing game over the past two seasons; he caught eight passes for 89 yards in 2022. But he will follow ex-Commanders OC Scott Turner, who joined the Raiders as the team’s pass-game coordinator this offseason.
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