The Oakland Raiders announced that they have signed running back Mark Thompson and linebacker Nick Usher to reserve/futures contracts.
Although the 2019 NFL season may have come to a disappointing end, the Raiders can at least take solace in the fact that they have ushered in a successful youth movement in recent years. It appears they are not done adding a few more potential pieces to their talented, young foundation.
Thompson came into the league as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens prior to the 2018 campaign following a modest college career with the Florida Gators. He was able to flash some promise as a rookie in the preseason, however, he was ultimately cut before being brought on as a member of the practice squad.
Thompson bounced around from the New York Jets to the Detroit Lions before arriving in Oakland. He will now likely have to compete with running back William Stanback for a spot on the practice squad.
Meanwhile, Usher made his bones in the CFL with the Edmonton Eskimos after he was cut from the New England Patriots in 2018. It is safe to say he took full advantage of his new opportunity by finishing the 2019 season with 36 tackles, six sacks and forced three fumbles.
The linebacker corps has been a notable point of weakness in the Raiders defense in recent years and head coach Jon Gruden has acknowledged this groups shortcomings during throughout the season. As a result, it appears they are looking to shore up some potential depth by giving Usher another chance at the NFL.
The Raiders have a busy offseason ahead of them with their looming relocation to Las Vegas. They will need to continue to address the voids on their roster if they hope to spark a potential resurgence in the 2020 NFL season.