The NFL world was in awe as news broke of the Chicago Bears sending the first-overall pick to Carolina, in exchange for two first-round picks, two second rounders, and wideout D.J. Moore. While that was going on, the Las Vegas Raiders were quietly making a move themselves; re-signing tight end Jesper Horsted.
When general manager Dave Ziegler woke up on Friday, Darren Waller was the only tight end under contract for the Raiders in 2023. Jacob Hollister finished his ’22 campaign on a new team, and Foster Moreau’s rookie contract has reached its end. Horsted was set to be a free agent as well, but Las Vegas was just able to beat the buzzer.
This past season, Horsted caught just three passes for 19 yards. In the preseason however, when playtime wasn’t scarce, Horsted proved to be a mismatch down after down.
The 26-year-old has both the footwork and athleticism of a wide receiver. That’s because Horsted played the receiver position throughout his college tenure, then spent the first two years of his NFL career as a receiver.
Horsted even caught the first touchdown pass Justin Fields threw as a pro – against the Raiders.
The Princeton alum will remain in Las Vegas during the ’23 season, but additional moves at the tight end position are still to come. Expect the team to find a blocking expert to replace Foster Moreau or retain Moreau in free agency.
Raiders make several additional moves
In addition to Horsted, the Raiders also re-signed tackle Brandon Parker. Parker missed the entirety of the ’22 season with an injury but was the favorite to start at right tackle heading into the year.
The re-signing of Parker comes one day after the extensions of guard Netane Muti and running back Ameer Abdullah. Combined, this marks four players the Raiders have brought back before free agency begins.
Not everyone was able to reach an agreement with the team, though.
Pro Bowl linebacker Denzel Perryman is expected to hit free agency next week, after the two sides failed to strike a deal. Las Vegas remains interested, and Perryman hasn’t ruled out a return.
*Top Photo: NBC Sports-Chicago
Raiders mailbag: C.J. Stroud, Jimmy Garoppolo, seventh-overall pick and tight end unit