The Las Vegas Raiders had a solid free-agent haul, but the addition of Jason Witten definitely raised some eyebrows. The 37-year-old tight end is among the best of all-time, but he’s already retired once and the Raiders have two of the most exciting young tight ends in the NFL. However, he’s going to bring a lot of veteran leadership to the table and general manager Mike Mayock is excited about the addition.
“Here’s the way I look at it. I think Jon and I looked at it the same way,” Mayock said on a conference call on Tuesday. “If there’s a Mount Rushmore of NFL tight ends, he’s on it. I know he’s 37 years old and I know we have a pretty good tight end room, but when you talk about bringing in a guy like him, not only can he still play, he had over 60 catches, can block the backside c-gap, still a competitive football player, but on top of that, he brings this wealth of knowledge about how to be a professional.”
Witten’s role on the field will probably be minimal. Darren Waller was the most productive receiver on the team last season and he should only get better. Foster Moreau was a very promising rookie and became a strong red-zone threat. Witten will probably make his impact in other ways.
Mayock Talks Witten’s Locker Room Presence
Thanks to having over a decade of experience, Witten will bring a wealth of knowledge and leadership to a young group of tight ends. Mayock made it clear that Jon Gruden and he are excited about a Witten addition means for the locker room.
“We plug him in our locker room and we have one more veteran that can look around the room and tell people what to do and what not to do,” Witten said. “And even more importantly in the tight end room, you have a guy like Foster coming off an ACL, hopefully he’s going to be 100 percent day one, but if he’s not, we have a conventional Y that can play, plus we have a guy in that tight end room that I think is going to help the young guys, and I’m talking about all of them, Darren [Waller], Foster, Derek [Carrier]. Jon and I looked at this, we were joined at the hip on this decision.
“We just thought it was too good of an opportunity both for our locker room and for our tight ends room, and by the way the guy can still play a little bit.”
It’s clear that Gruden has always been a fan of having veteran leadership all over the roster. The Raiders have a very young team, so having strong veterans sprinkled around can only help. It also doesn’t hurt that Witten proved he could still put up good numbers last season. It may not have been the most necessary move for the team to make, but it could pay off when the Raiders need leaders to step up.
Follow the Heavy Las Vegas Raiders page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Foster Moreau’s Rehab Is Coming Along Nicely
The Raiders were rolling last season until they got hit with a bunch of nasty injuries. One of the more impactful injuries was losing rookie tight end Foster Moreau for the season in Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans. He was one of the team’s more promising rookies. Fortunately, Mike Mayock revealed that he’s gotten a lot better since the knee injury.
“Foster [Moreau] is doing really well,” Mayock said. “He’s been in Baton Rouge, obviously he’s an LSU guy. He’s been rehabbing there at LSU. He’s ahead of schedule. If you know the kind of kid that Foster Moreau is, you know he’s working his tail off. If anybody can come back and be ready for training camp coming off that ACL, it’s going to be Foster. He’s done great.”