The Raiders are well-stocked at tight end. Like, doomsday-prepper style.
They added another talent to a crowded group on Saturday afternoon, agreeing on terms of a contract with Nick O’Leary. His agency reported the news.
O’Leary spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins after a trade. He has been a reserve in his career, and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll have a roster spot with the Raiders.
The Silver and Black definitely will have Darren Waller, Foster Moreau and Jason Witten on the roster next year. Derek Carrier’s under contract and is a glue guy and core special teams player worthy of employment.
NFL teams typically carry three tight ends, maybe four if one’s a quality special teamer, on the roster. Moreau suffered a knee injury late in the 2019 season and O’Leary could be an option if the LSU product isn’t quite ready to start the season.
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It might be tough to make the squad if Moreau is ready to go. Last year’s fourth-round pick is a versatile talent. Waller’s an elite receiving target and Witten’s a future Hall of Famer who isn’t what he once was but still has some juice left. Carrier’s a quality reserve and rounds out a position group that’s as strong as any on the roster.
The Raiders signed free agent tight end Paul Butler on Thursday.
Butler spent most of the previous two years on the Raiders’ practice squad, but was picked up late last season by the Detroit Lions as a reserve/future free agent. Butler (6 feet 6 inches, 250 pounds) also was promoted to the Raiders’ active roster in Week 17 of the 2018 season.
Eli Apple never finalized a contract with the Raiders, and the free-agent cornerback has agreed to join their scheduled Week 1 opponents.
Apple reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, the team announced.
The Raiders are set to play the Panthers in Charlotte on Sept. 13, and the Silver and Black could line up against the man the front office initially pegged to have a shot to start opposite Trayvon Mullen. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Scott Bair on March 18 that Apple and the Raiders agreed to terms on a deal.
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But Apple never put pen to paper, and the deal officially fell apart on April 2 due in part to an inability to get a physical. The Raiders quickly changed course to bolster their secondary, adding Damarious Randall that same day and selecting defensive backs Damon Arnette (first round, No. 19 overall) and Amik Robertson (fourth round, No. 129 overall) in the draft a few weeks later. They also officially signed veteran corner Prince Amukamara on May 18.
Will the Raiders regret not bringing Apple in? It will be too early to tell after Week 1, but the Silver and Black will have all the more reason to want to take a bite out of the Panthers with Apple on the roster.
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