It might have looked curious at the moment, but the Las Vegas Raiders knew what they were doing when they signed veteran Jason Witten. They have two capable young tight ends in Darren Waller and Foster Moreau. Nevertheless, Witten brings an extra element to the team besides his play on the field.
The Raiders signed a good one this past free agency
Witten has had a very successful career playing the tight end position. Although he isn’t a spring chicken anymore, he still can be an effective player. He caught 63 passes for 529 yards and four touchdowns in 2019 with the Dallas Cowboys. On the other hand, his best years are behind him so the Raiders raised a few eyebrows when they signed him this past free agency. They gave him a one-year contract that pays him up to $4.75 million. What is interesting about the signing is that Waller had a breakout season in 2019 and Moreau himself was quite solid.
Last season, Moreau suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 13. The Raiders didn’t know how he was going to progress so signing Witten made sense. Even though Moreau was fully healthy in the season opener, Witten got more playing time. It’s now clear that the Raiders brought him to be more than just insurance in case Moreau didn’t play.
Witten’s biggest contribution doesn’t show up on the stat sheet
It is true that Witten just had one catch for two yards against Carolina. He isn’t the main option in the Raiders passing game, but he’s still a solid blocker. Also, the veteran tight end’s value transcends the playing field. In his latest press conference, ’82’ talked about his role influence in this young Raiders team.
Witten said that his younger teammates are “sponges” and are eager to learn. He also said that it isn’t easy to be receptive, but the youngsters have been open to learning.
‘As a veteran player, the best thing you can do is dive in with them and do it in a real authentic way. I tried to make myself available to them, being one of the guys and talk to them and they’ve been great. They’ve allowed me to share and sometimes in pro football, that isn’t the easiest thing, to say ‘hey I’m going to follow you. I’m going to listen to what you’re telling me and then work on those things’.
We don’t know if Witten’s tenure with the Raiders will be longer than a year. Nevertheless, we know that his time in the Silver and Black will be meaningful and impactful and his young teammates are trying to make the most out of it.
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Top Photo: Las Vegas Raiders Official YouTube channel