Raiders Release Veteran to Make Room for New WR Signing

sutton smith

Getty Sutton Smith high-fiving Divine Deablo.

One of the first surprises of the Josh McDaniels was the Las Vegas Raiders‘ decision to let Alec Ingold walk in free agency. The young fullback was a team captain and active in the community. He likely would’ve been with the team for a long time had Rich Bisaccia been retained as head coach.

Sutton Smith was signed to a two-year deal last season so he could’ve been a logical replacement for Ingold. However, McDaniels decided to bring in a familiar face in Jakob Johnson, who previously played for the New England Patriots. The Raiders recently signed wide receiver Jordan Veasy and had to open up a roster spot. Smith ended up being the player to get the ax.

Las Vegas wasn’t going to keep two fullbacks on the roster so Smith likely saw the writing on the wall when Johnson was brought in. He’s familiar with the offense and McDaniels trusts him. There aren’t a lot of openings for fullbacks these days but the Raiders should keep Smith’s number handy in case Johnson has to miss time at all this season.

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Raiders Have Stacked Backfield

There’s been a lot of talk about the Raiders’ receiving group this offseason with the addition of Davante Adams. However, McDaniels likes to run the ball and the team has the players to do quite a bit of running. The coach inherits a Pro Bowl running back in Josh Jacobs, a productive veteran in Kenyan Drake and then drafted Zamir White in the fourth round in the recent NFL Draft.

That’s not to mention the team adding veterans in Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah. The competition at running back should be quite fierce in training camp. Regardless, the Raiders have a good group of rushers heading into the season.

Zamir White: Georgia Highlights | 122nd Pick of 2022 NFL Draft | CBS Sports HQCheck out Zamir White's highlights at Georgia. White was drafted 122nd overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.2022-04-30T17:23:59Z

Raiders Received ‘Good’ Grade for Drafting White

When the draft came around, running back certainly wasn’t on the Raiders’ list of needs. McDaniels has praised Jacobs after taking the job and it looked like he could have a future under the coach. Instead, the team declined his fifth-year option, which means that Jacobs could be in his last year in Las Vegas.

The Raiders wouldn’t have drafted White, who was highly regarded coming out of Georgia, if they believed Jacobs was staying long term. Many were high on the draft pick, including Pro Football Focus, which praised the team for the pick:

White is an explosive, powerful 217-pound back who put up an impressive 4.40-second mark in the 40-yard dash. He’s not going to offer much in the passing game or consistently go above and beyond his blocking, but he can fill a clear role and make the most of his blocking in Las Vegas. He’ll join Kenyan Drake and Josh Jacobs in the Raiders’ backfield after Las Vegas just declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option.

McDaniels comes from the Patriots and they never paid their running backs big money. White should be the future of the position after this season.

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