The Raiders special teams coverage units have taken a beating this offseason.
Brynden Trawick and Darren Bates took heftier paychecks from the Titans last week.
The Raiders lost another key component on Saturday afternoon, when receiver Andre Holmes signed with the Buffalo Bills. NFL Network reports the deal is worth $6.5 million over three years.
This one foreshadowed. National reports of a pact with Buffalo surfaced on Wednesday due to a contract offer run through the NFLPA system that looked like an agreed-upon deal.
Holmes refuted the completed deal on Twitter, a social media service he rarely uses.
He confirmed the Buffalo contract on Twitter, saying “What’s up #BillsMafia”
Holmes was a long-serving Raiders, someone who suffered through rough seasons in 2013 and ’14 before helping usher in improved results the last few seasons.
Holmes was solid deep threat and a red-zone target on offense, and developed into an excellent special teams player. That was especially true on punt coverage, where he was adept downing Marquette King’s punts inside the 20-yard line.
Holmes fell back on the depth chart after the Raiders drafted Amari Cooper and signed Michael Crabtree, though he had 14 catches for 126 yards and three touchdowns last season.
Holmes expressed a desire to remain with the Raiders, especially after being with the team during lean years and helped the Silver and Black rise to prominence.
The 28-year old’s departure seemed set after the Raiders signed Cordarrelle Patterson, an All-Pro return man who is a solid gunner in coverage. Patterson will also slide into Holmes No. 4 receiver slot.
Holmes took time to thank Raiders fans before focusing on his new team: