After a rough 4-12 season, the Oakland Raiders have made a ton of personnel changes this offseason, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.
One of the biggest losses for the Raiders was tight end Jared Cook, who served as the top option for Derek Carr in the passing game in 2018. He signed with the New Orleans Saints, leaving a notable void in their receiving corps moving forward.
To make matters worse, they also parted ways with Lee Smith after he signed a three-year deal to return to Buffalo. Smith had served as the primary blocker in run situations.
According to Adam Schefter of ESPN though, they have found a potential replacement for those guys by signing tight end Erik Swoope:
Raiders signed free-agent tight end Erik Swoope tonight to a one year deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 22, 2019
Swoope had played basketball in college at Miami before making the switch to football and signing with the Indianapolis Colts following the 2014 NFL Draft. It is clear that he had shown plenty of promise with his skill set and the Colts were hoping that he could potentially emulate the same kind of success other former basketball players like Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates enjoyed.
His best season came in 2016 when he finished the year with 15 receptions for 297 yards and a touchdown. Although Swoope has since been unable to emerge as a consistent option in the passing game, he did establish himself as a bit of a red zone target after converting three of his eight receptions into touchdowns last year.
At this point, it is safe to say that Swoope will be looking to help fill the void left by Cook in the passing game as opposed to Smith in the run game. The 27-year-old is set to compete with Foster Moreau, Derek Carrier and Darren Waller for a spot on the roster this offseason.
The Raiders have done what they can to surround Carr with as much firepower as possible going into the 2019 NFL season both through free agency and the draft. Although he managed to make the most of their depleted roster last season, the onus will be on him to help lead a potential resurgence on offense next year.
With Josh Jacobs poised to take over the backfield and Antonio Brown leading the receiving corps, the question remains which tight end will serve as Carr’s safety net underneath. It will be interesting to see if Swoope can etch out a role for himself this offseason.