Raiders Sign Former 1st-Round Pick & Super Bowl Champ to Replace Darren Waller

oj howard

Getty New Las Vegas Raiders TE O.J. Howard.

The Las Vegas Raiders created a big need at tight end with the trade of Darren Waller to the New York Giants. He was one of the most dynamic tight ends in the NFL and the team gave him up for just a third-round pick. With Foster Moreau a free agent, the Raiders did not have a capable replacement on the roster.

The team could address the position in the draft but in the meantime, they’ve found a possible replacement for Waller. The Raiders announced that they’ve signed former Houston Texans tight end O.J. Howard.

Howard was highly touted coming out of Alabama and was a first-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017. He stuck with the team for five seasons and won a Super Bowl in 2020 but was never able to quite live up to his status as a first-round pick. He hasn’t broken 150 receiving yards in a season since 2019 and has dealt with a number of injury issues. He’s not going to come to Las Vegas and replace the production that Waller had but he’s capable of making some plays. The Raiders certainly need to add another tight end in either the draft or free agency but Howard will be a nice depth piece to have around.

Multiple Teams Host Moreau for Visits

Moreau has been with the Raiders for four seasons and played many critical snaps over the past two years with Waller getting hurt. He’s good enough to be a starting tight end in the NFL and it would make sense for the Raiders to bring him back with Waller gone. However, there hasn’t appeared to be much mutual interest in Moreau coming back.

According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Moreau has met with both the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints.

Both teams are strong candidates to land the veteran tight end. Moreau is from New Orleans and could reunite with former Raiders quarterback Derek Carr on the Saints. It’s a logical move for him to make if they make him an offer. The Bengals are also interesting due to the fact that Moreau played with quarterback Joe Burrow in college. The two likely have a relationship and should be able to pick up where they left off at LSU. Both teams also have clear paths to the playoffs, which is something that should appeal to Moreau.

Darnell Washington Makes Too Much Sense for Raiders

Though trading away Waller is a blow to the Raiders’ offense, this year’s class of tight ends is one of the best in recent memory. There’s one option that appears to make the most sense for Las Vegas. Georgia tight end Darnell Washington lit up the NFL Scouting Combine. He’s 6-foot-7 and 264 pounds but runs a 4.64 40-yard. As great as Waller was, he didn’t make an impact as a blocker. Washington should be one of the better blocking tight ends in the NFL.

He also grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, and joining the Raiders would allow him to be close to home. He doesn’t have the upside in the receiving game that Waller did but he did have 454 receiving yards for Bulldogs last year. If the Raiders feel like they need to draft a tight end in the first two rounds of the draft, they couldn’t go wrong with adding Washington.

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