OAKLAND, Calif. — A week that could feature splashy signings began Monday morning with a ripple.
The Raiders signed wide receiver Griff Whalen to a one-year contract, a source said. The former Stanford standout was last with the Baltimore Ravens before his Oct. 31 release. He offers Oakland some veteran depth as a slot receiver who can enter the mix at punt returner.
Over the past two seasons, Whalen has played 10 games without a start.
He caught a combined six passes for 45 yards in that span with the Chargers and Ravens, respectively. He has not started a game since 2013 with the Indianapolis Colts when he made three such appearances. For his career, he’s logged 51 catches for 532 yards and three touchdowns, adding 49 punt returns for 378 yards and 29 kick returns for 701.
Whalen, 28, will compete for a back-end roster spot this offseason. NFL Network first reported his signing.
Free agency is scheduled to begin in earnest Wednesday at 1 p.m. with the start of the 2018 league year. Hundreds of unrestricted free agents from across the league will hit the market then. On Monday at 9 a.m., those impending free agents became eligible to start negotiating contracts with other teams.
Jalen Richard served as the Raiders’ punt returner in 2017. The running back struggled with ball security, muffing a punt return on four occasions and committing two other fumbles. On Dec. 3, he had two muffs and one fumble versus the New York Giants. The Raiders recovered all three.
On Oct. 29, he lost a fumble on a punt return against the Buffalo Bills. He muffed two kickoffs that day, too.