Darrius Heyward-Bey has not been the player that the Oakland Raiders hoped he’d be when they drafted him with the seventh overall pick in 2009. This was a classic “reach” from former general manager Al Davis as Heyward-Bey could’ve easily been had in the later rounds for sure.
Four years of inept production later, the Raiders now have to make a decision about whether or not they should release him, try to restructure his contract or simply bring him back in hopes he can perform in his fifth NFL season. I highly doubt that the Raiders will stand idly by while Heyward-Bey makes over $10 million in 2013.
The first step will be for general manager Reggie McKenzie to ask the wideout to take a pay cut to the tune of 25-30 percent of his current deal. No one in the NFL believes that he is worth the money he is currently making, but the Raiders did get a 975 yards out of him in 2011, where he hauled in 64 passes. I think restructuring Heyward-Bey’s contract should be a top-priority and is definitely the best case scenario for the Raiders.
If the organization decides to release the former first-rounder, they would be saving $5.3 million to spend elsewhere, which would benefit a team that hasn’t been competitive in the AFC South for quite sometime. The Raiders also have Brandon Myers heading into free agency this offseason. He led the team with 79 receptions and 806 yards in 2012 and is already garnering interest from the Washington Redskins, among other clubs.
Time will tell what Heyward-Bey’s future in Oakland entails, but if he doesn’t agree to reconstruct his egregiously high contract, he can say goodbye to the black and gold.