The Las Vegas Raiders were greeted with bad news on Tuesday, as the team was forced to place one of their players on the injured reserve list. In a corresponding move, general manager Dave Ziegler brought back a familiar face to fill the gap.
Brandon Parker, entering his sixth season with the Raiders, suffered a season-ending injury for the second year in a row during joint practice with the San Francisco 49ers. The organization didn’t disclose Parker’s exact injury; in 2022, his season ended before it began thanks to a triceps injury.
When Dave Ziegler took over last offseason, he made sure to keep Parker around by giving the former third-round pick a one-year extension. Parker was primed to start at right tackle during the team’s ’22 campaign until his aforementioned triceps injury changed the Raiders’ plans at the position. At the season’s end, despite spending the year on injured reserve, Parker was welcomed back with a second one-year deal.
Although he’s now signed two separate contracts since Ziegler took over in Las Vegas, Parker has yet to play a regular season contest. Now back on the IR list, he’s unable to do so until at least 2024.
Things change quickly in the NFL. Parker was well on track to win the Raiders starting right tackle job in 2022, but a season-ending injury prevented that. Jermaine Eluemunor instead took over, and by all accounts, performed masterfully.
Eluemunor finished his ’22 campaign with an overall grade of 75.3 via Pro Football Focus. His 75.7 grade against the run ranked 11th among all tackles with at least 300 run blocking snaps. In pass coverage, the veteran offensive lineman earned a mark of 76.1. Due to Eluemunor’s success in 2022, Parker’s name was out of the first-team conversation heading into 2023.
Dave Ziegler, Las Vegas Raiders sign replacement for Brandon Parker
Placing Parker on injured reserve opened up a roster spot, which Ziegler used to bring back wide receiver Isaiah Zuber.
Zuber played in all four Raiders’ preseason contests last season, totaling two receptions for 11 yards. More importantly, Zuber is a former Patriot who’s plenty familiar with head coach Josh McDaniels’ offense.
Back in 2020, the undrafted free agent wideout made his NFL debut against none other than the Las Vegas Raiders. Zuber recorded one catch for 13 yards in that contest, earning his first career catch against the team he now plays for.
Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, wide receiver is the strongest position on the team’s roster. Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Jakobi Meyers headline the “locks,” with rookie Tre Tucker being close to one himself. DeAndre Carter averaged the second-most yards per punt return last season, giving him the nod as the starting returner per the Raiders’ first depth chart.
Keelan Cole and Phillip Dorsett are fighting for roster spots at the position as well. Is there room for Zuber?
*Top Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports