After focusing heavily on defense in free agency, the Las Vegas Raiders have started to make some additions on the offense. They started off with signing offensive guard Eric Kush and then wide receiver Nelson Agholor. Now, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the team will be keeping a familiar face in house by re-signing running back Rod Smith.
Smith joined the Raiders towards the end of last season when Josh Jacobs started to get hampered with injuries. He’s a big, strong and powerful running back who should be an asset in short-yardage situations. Smith didn’t get any carries with the team last season and it’s unclear how much of a role he’ll have with the team heading into this season. It’s still possible he doesn’t make the regular-season roster.
Is This the End for DeAndre Washington?
With the signing of Rod Smith, it appears the Raiders won’t be bringing back DeAndre Washington. The veteran running back spent the last four years with the team and was strong in relief of Josh Jacobs towards the end of last season. Though he hasn’t signed yet, he should find a home at some point. The biggest thing working against him is that he was a lesser version of the two running backs the Raiders already have. He’s not as good of a runner as Jacobs and not as good as a receiver as Jalen Richard.
It makes sense for the team to add a player who brings something else to the table. The Raiders clearly wanted a power running back last year as they brought in the likes of LeGarrette Blount and C.J. Anderson for workouts before deciding on Smith. The team likes to use fullback Alec Ingold in short-yardage situations, but it will be interesting to see if that will change with Smith added to the fold.
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Who Have the Raiders Signed in Free Agency so Far?
The Raiders should now be slowing down what was a productive free agency. They came in with a number of big needs and solved some of them. Here’s a list of all the players they’ve signed so far:
The most notable addition was Cory Littleton. The former Pro Bowl linebacker for the Los Angeles Rams should immediately make a big impact on the defense and is among the better coverage linebackers in the NFL. Also, don’t sleep on Nick Kwiatkoski. That was a sneaky good pickup for the Raiders and he could bring consistency to the linebacker corps that the team hasn’t had for years.
The biggest red flag is that the only cornerback the Raiders agreed to a deal with was Eli Apple. They were in the running for signing Byron Jones and Chris Harris Jr. but were turned down by both. They also reportedly tried to trade for Darius Slay, but that also didn’t happen. The Raiders will now go into the draft with major needs at wide receiver and cornerback. Based on how well the team drafted last year, fans shouldn’t be too concerned about that.