Oakland Raiders: Why Darrius Heyward-Bey Should Take a Pay Cut or Be Cut
Darrius Heyward-Bey is a much maligned early first round pick that hasn't done anything to acquit himself. He has a total of 35 catches, 490 yards, and two touchdowns in two years for the Silver and Black.
Year three is generally the time to call a player a bust, and I can't see him breaking out in 2011. Many will point out what star running back Darren McFadden did in his first two years, but he was hurt.
Plus, McFadden displayed that he was of the skill level required to play the position he plays before the injuries. Heyward-Bey has improved but his pass receiving skills are still not that of a first round pick.
He's going to make $7 million for what?
Turn the page to see exactly why Heyward-Bey should restructure his contract or be waived.
Easy to Bring Back
No one around the league is going to pick up Heyward Bey's contract as is. Therefore, he is just about guaranteed to clear waivers if he is waived.
Then Oakland Raider owner Al Davis can negotiate a more cap friendly contract with Heyward-Bey. He has done nothing to make the league try to outbid Davis for his services, so the negotiations should be easy.
What is he going to do, become a star with the San Diego Chargers?
Zach Miller has been the most consistent offensive weapon for the Raiders since 2007. He just made the Pro Bowl in 2010, so like Hall of Fame corner and NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders says, "Pay da man!"
As of right now, Miller has been tendered but it is not known what the rules will be in 2011 yet. He just might become an unrestricted free agent when a CBA is reached because he has played four years in the NFL.
Would you rather lose Miller than Heyward-Bey?
Louis Murphy was drafted in the fourth round the same year Heyward-Bey was drafted in the first. Murphy has more than doubled Heward-Bey's production in both of their first two seasons.
Murphy had only 18 starts to Hewyard-Bey's 25, leading to 75 catches for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns. He's also better at what the Raiders drafted Heyward-Bey to do as he plays faster than the first rounder.
Murphy has 16 catches over 20 yards and four catches over 40 yards.
Heward-Bey has seven catches over 20 yards and one over 40.
Both players had some drops but Murphy did play with a shoulder injury that made it hard to raise his arms. Remember, Murphy was on pace to have a 1,000 yard season before the injury happened in 2010.
Also not to be forgotten is the clutch gene Murphy displayed in 2009.
He will be a star before Heward-Bey is.
When healthy, Chaz Schilens is the Raiders true No. 1 wideout.
At 6'4", 225 pounds, he is the biggest target the Raiders have to split out wide. He also runs the best routes and can jump as high as a receiver needs to go up and get the football.
What Schilens goes up for, he does come down with because he has excellent hands. His 4.33 40-yard dash time is only three one hundredths of a second behind Heyward-Bey's 4.30.
The only problem with Schilens is he has been hurt way too much since becoming a Raider. But I believe that problem has finally been solved because this is the first offseason Schilens doesn't have surgery scheduled.
I'm looking for big things from him this year.
Davis has tried so hard over the years to find the next Cliff Branch.
Where he has so far failed with Heyward-Bey, he just may have succeeded with Ford. Ford is actually faster than Heyward-Bey and is much more sudden, so he is able run better routes and run after the catch.
He has also shown much better hands.
Ford will go up and take the football from a defender as opposed to allowing it to be stripped from his hands like Heyward-Bey. Ford has eight catches over 20 yards and three catches over 40 yards despite not getting opportunities to catch the football until midseason.
Another deep threat better than Heyward-Bey.
Davis spoke of how many solid players the Raiders could get with the salary of Nnamdi Asomugha. Yes, I do agree that $17 million dollars is a whole lot of money for a corner and I'm sure the NFL will agree.
However, Davis has to think about using the $7 million that Hewyard-Bey is making to keep a perennial All-Pro. Everyone wants to talk about how hard Heyward-Bey is working but what about the work Asomugha has done over the years?
He had to make the transition from safety to the best corner in the league.
His work should be rewarded over Heyward-Bey's because his work has led to production.
Safety Michael Huff was also on the bust list at one point but it wasn't his fault. He showed signs in 2010 of being able to become a top or at least serviceable free safety after being misused at strong safety.
He had a career-high three interceptions, three forced fumbles, and four sacks in 2010. The 2010 season was just Huff's second at his natural position of free safety.
Davis wanted to give Huff a new deal already but a rule in which player getting a 30 percent raise or more has to hit free agency before re-signing.
The improving Huff and his seven turnovers will cost less and be worth more than Heyward-Bey.
Jared Veldheer is a beast of a lineman in the run game and may be a Pro Bowler at some point. Left tackle just isn't the position that Veldheer will make that Pro Bowl at, so he should be moved and the Raiders should pick up a left tackle in free agency.
Those that have read my articles in the past know who I want but if not him, someone.
Oakland Raider quarterbacks will have to hold the ball a little longer for the deeper pass routes to break open. Therefore, the Raiders need a far above average left tackle to protect the blind side of the quarterback.
That will take money, so $7 million to the fourth-best receiver on the team won't help.
This is not a hate article on Heyward-Bey.
I still want him on the team and think he will make some plays at times.
However, he will never be the type of ball player that is worth his contract.
Besides, the Raiders do have two Pro Bowlers to re-sign in Zach Miller and Nnamdi Asomugha. Then you have Huff, who has become an important part of what the Raiders do on defense.
Heyward-Bey would likely clear waivers and come back to the Raiders anyway.