The Las Vegas Raiders made a bit of a splash with the addition of former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten in free agency this offseason.
The move was seemingly an easy one for the Raiders given their efforts to shore up some firepower on offense. However, Witten’s decision to move on from the Cowboys after spending his entire career there came with its fair share of speculation.
After all, it had been deemed a foregone conclusion that Witten came out of early retirement to potentially put the cherry on top of a Hall of Fame career by winning a Super Bowl with Dallas. Despite falling well short of expectations last year, the veteran decided that he was still not ready to hang his cleats back up just yet and opted to move on.
Witten spoke on his decision to leave the biggest brand in all of sports to join an equally-historic Raiders franchise that is looking to spark a resurgence in the 2020 NFL season,
via Kyle Martin of the team’s official website:
“I picked the Raiders because they’re a historic franchise,” Witten said. “I felt like this was a young team that’s hungry, good guys. Coach Gruden and his staff — I believe 100 percent in them. It’s a good fit for me and where I’m at in my career. So, I’m excited to join this team and all the young talent.”
Witten added that he is excited about the talent Las Vegas has with this tight end group that includes Darren Waller and Foster Moreau:
“I’m really impressed with the tight end group. I think it starts with Darren Waller,” Witten said. “What an absolute freak guy he is. He’s athletic and talented and the future is extremely bright for him. He’s still extremely young at his position, so he can do it all. He can run, he can catch and he’s smart, and wants to be great.
“It transfers over to Foster [Moreau]. Going into his second year — I thought he had a really good rookie season. He loves football, he’s hungry and they’ve been sponges in the meeting room.”
Waller emerged as the most productive weapon in the passing game for quarterback Derek Carr with a breakout 2019 campaign that saw him haul in 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Moreau was able to show plenty of promise as a rookie with 21 catches for 174 yards and five touchdowns in 13 games before a knee injury ended his season.
The onus will now fall on Witten to provide a healthy mix of veteran experience to the Raiders’ young talent. His comments indicate that he is fully prepared to take on a mentorship role for both Waller and Moreau.