Raiders improve return game with Cordarrelle Patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson had a 93-yard touchdown return against the Raiders in 2015. Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY Sports

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Raiders struck a deal Monday night with former Minnesota Vikings All-Pro returner Cordarrelle Patterson, as he became the second free agent to sign with Oakland after it had lost seven of its 13 free agents in the first 48 hours of free agency.

Patterson joins offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse as the newest Raiders.

Terms: Reportedly a two-year deal, that can be voided to one year, according to ESPN's Ben Goessling.

ESPN 150 ranking: No. 86

Grade: A. This is what Raiders fans have been waiting for since free agency began on Thursday -- a high-profile signing to inject some excitement into not only the fan base but also the offense and special teams. Or did you miss quarterback Derek Carr's inclusive Tweet of "Welcome to Raider Nation, bro. Now let's work," immediately after the signing?

What it means: The 6-foot-2, 216-pound Patterson -- who had 453 receiving yards and two touchdowns on a career-high 52 catches last season -- should complement Seth Roberts as a slot receiver for the Raiders. But he will immediately improve the Raiders' return game. As mentioned, he has already been named All-Pro twice as a returner and has led the NFL in return average three times in the past four years. He averaged 31.7 yards per return last season to lead the NFL. The Raiders averaged 20.5 yards per return as a team, with Jalen Richard leading them with a 23.6 yards per return. Oh yeah, and Patterson, who turns 26 on Friday, had a 93-yard TD return against the Raiders in 2015. Plus, Patterson’s 30.4 yards per return average is second to only Gale Sayers (30.6) in the NFL since 1941. Patterson has five returns for scores in his four-year career, while the Raiders have not had a kickoff returned for a score since 2011, by Jacoby Ford.

What's the risk: The acquisition of Patterson could make fan favorite Andre Holmes expendable. Holmes was more of a third- or fourth-option receiver and red zone target, but he was money on special teams as a gunner, often downing punts inside the 10-yard line. Holmes was reportedly scheduled to visit the Detroit Lions. Patterson joining Oakland might be a sign Holmes should sign elsewhere, meaning the Raiders, who already lost two other special-teams studs in Daren Bates and Brynden Trawick to the Tennessee Titans, will have to find another gunner.