OAKLAND, Calif. — One thing is certain about the Raiders’ tight ends in 2018.
They can block.
One day after Derek Carrier agreed to a contract, Raiders tight end Lee Smith agreed to one of his own, a source confirmed Wednesday morning.
The deal was finalized hours before Smith was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. He has served as the Raiders’ top blocker at the position since his 2015 arrival.
Raiders' tight ends in 2018 can block. Lee Smith back with club, one day after Derek Carrier expressed intent to sign three-year deal. https://t.co/PSKjXXIClB
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 14, 2018
Financial terms were not immediately available.
Carrier, however, intends to sign a three-year contract worth $7 million, a source said. It includes $2.3 million guaranteed.
Smith and Carrier represent an attitude new coach Jon Gruden looks to accentuate at the line of scrimmage. Already, the Raiders were considered fairly physical at the point of attack in the running game.
With their interior line, it’s difficult not to be. Still, he saw room for improvement, something the organization has worked toward this week with the release of right tackle Marshall Newhouse and two additions at tight end.
Jared Cook, due a $5 million salary in 2018, remains the Raiders’ highest-paid player at the position. He is coming off wrist surgery this offseason, sources have said, an ailment through which he played in 2017. Clive Walford is the other top returner at the position.
At the NFL Combine on Feb. 28, Gruden expressed that he wanted a blocking tight end and fullback on the 2018 roster. The Raiders technically already have the latter, but soft-tissue injuries limited Jamize Olawale at various points last season.
“If Marshawn Lynch is the feature back, I think it’d be nice if we serviced him with a fullback,” Gruden said. “He had a guy (in Seattle) named (Michael) Robinson who’s with the NFL Network, who was a hell of a fullback. You need a blocking tight end if you’re going to slam the ball with a beast. So those are two things that I’m looking for.”