The Las Vegas Raiders played it slow on the first day of the tampering period of free agency, but are turning heads on day No. 2. According to Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group, the team is bringing in Dallas Cowboys legend Jason Witten.
Witten has spent his entire career as a cornerstone of the Cowboys organization. He’s been to the Pro Bowl 11 times and is a surefire Hall of Famer once he’s eligible. He took a brief break from football to try his hand at being an analyst and actually replaced Jon Gruden in the Monday Night Football booth, but he only did that for a year before going back to Dallas.
It’s surprising that Witten would leave the Cowboys at this point in his career. He’s spent 16 years with the team and it’s very possible that his last season will be in 2020. Gruden was clearly able to sell him on Las Vegas and convince Witten that they are building something special. Though his days as an elite pass-catcher are probably behind him, the leadership that he brings the team could make a big difference. According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, the deal is only one-year for $4.75 million.
Raiders Also Signing Maliek Collins & Jeff Heath
The Raiders weren’t done stealing talent from the Cowboys as they also have agreed to a deal with defensive tackle Maliek Collins, according to Michael Gehlken.
Even going one step further, the Raiders decided to sign another Cowboys player, coming to terms with safety Jeff Heath on a two-year deal worth up to $8 million, per Todd Archer.
Adding Collins makes a lot of sense for the Raiders, who brought Rod Marinelli on as the defensive line coach not too long ago. The team hasn’t gotten a lot of pressure on the inside over the last few seasons, but Collins should help with that. He’s accumulated 14.5 sacks over the first four years of his career. Those aren’t massive numbers, but they are strong for someone who plays on the inside.
He’s also got a lot of starting experience and should fill the same role with the Raiders. The team likes Johnathan Hankins and Maurice Hurst has looked good really good at times. Mike Mayock called out P.J. Hall at the Combine, so with the Collins addition, he could be in serious trouble. The defensive line was a need for the Raiders and Collins should address that need very well.
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Raiders Tight End Group Is Loaded
The Raiders didn’t have a need at tight end. Darren Waller quickly became one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire NFL in 2019 and Foster Moreau was great as a rookie. Both players should only keep getting better. Witten wasn’t added to the tight end group because the Raiders needed more help at tight end, he was added because of the leadership he can bring.
He should play a role in helping Waller get to the next level. It’s hard to imagine that he can play better than he did in 2019, but if he can, he could develop into the best tight end in the league. This is a perfect situation for Witten. He gets to go to a storied franchise that’s moving to a big market and he’s not going to be asked to carry a big workload at tight end. He should be the team’s third option at tight end, which only means good things for the Raiders offense.