ALAMEDA – Ryan Switzer wasn’t here long. The second-year receiver spent 121 days representing the Raiders, a short stint bookended by trades that moved him from Dallas to Oakland and now on to Pittsburgh.
The Raiders gave up second-round disappointment Jihad Ward to get Switzer, and received next year’s fifth-round pick for Switzer and a sixth-rounder on Monday morning.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said Dwayne Harris won the job returning kickoffs and punts, making Switzer expendable.
“We had an opportunity to get a good pick for him,” Gruden said. “The move was done help the Raiders. He’s a good player who is going to do well. Dwayne Harris is going to do well for us also. Special teams is a big part of being a fourth or fifth receiver. That was the case again this year.”
Switzer’s tenure here started well. Gruden lavished praise on him during the offseason program, and it jived with his early training camp performance. He cooled as camp went on and didn’t separate himself in the return game. That got him shipped out.
That thins out a competitive position group some, and changes the dynamics of who will likely make the squad. Amari Cooper, Jordy Nelson, Martavis Bryant and Harris are mortal locks. Johnny Holton’s special teams prowess gives him a leg up. They could stay at five, or push for a sixth. Griff Whalen is out of that mix now. He has turf toe and will be out a few weeks, but was placed on injured reserve. It seems likely he'll reach an injury settlement with the team. Marcel Ateman could be in play for a spot as well, but doesn't play inside much.
Seth Roberts has worked almost exclusively in the slot, but has been behind Whalen and Switzer this summer. He played extensive snaps on Friday against Green Bay, and will play a lot on Thursday in Seattle. He has already received a $2 million bonus, and is set to make a $2.25 million salary. The Raiders could look to move him in trade, but that remains uncertain at this time.
“Seth did some good things,” Gruden said. “The ball didn’t go his way but he was open a few times. He did a good job blocking and running some routes. It was good to see him out there.”
Gruden made the move now because Harris had won the return job – more likely, he always had it – and the Raiders were able to get something in return.
This is his second trade with the Steelers this year. Gruden acquired Bryant for a third-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft.
“I think he’s a good player who deserves an opportunity,” Gruden said. “We wanted to help him get going learning a new offense (in Pittsburgh).”
Switzer acknowledged the trade on social media, ready to move closer to his West Virginia roots after setting up shop in the East Bay with his wife.