Raiders Sign Round 1 TE Brock Bowers; Antonio Pierce Denies Terrion Arnold Coin-Flip Rumor

The Raiders have their top 2024 draftee under contract. The team and tight end Brock Bowers came to terms on his four-year rookie contract Thursday, checking off a notable box off the team’s offseason checklist.

Bowers’ deal can run through 2028 via the fifth-year option, a decision that Raiders will be in line to make during the 2027 offseason. The Raiders chose Bowers 13th overall, selecting the Georgia tight end despite having traded up for Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer early in last year’s second round.

Closely linked to a Jayden Daniels trade-up effort, the Raiders were also interested in Michael Penix Jr. The Falcons selecting the Washington quarterback at No. 8 surprised most and led to a scenario in which the Raiders were shut out of the first-round QBs, as the Broncos stopped the six-passer run by drafting Bo Nix at No. 12. With the Raiders in need of a QB and lurking at No. 13, the Broncos did not view it as safe — based on their need — to trade down for a shot at grabbing Nix later.

As for the Raiders, they nabbed one of this draft’s top skill-position prospects in Bowers. An interesting storyline developed in the aftermath of Las Vegas adding this draft top tight end. Terrion Arnold, who went 24th to the Lions, said during an appearance on The Next Round (video link) Antonio Pierce informed him the Raiders determined their Bowers investment — a Bowers-or-Arnold decision, per Arnold — on a coin flip. Raiders assistant GM Champ Kelly did not confirm or deny that rumor, but Pierce (via ESPN’s Ryan Clark) did shoot down Arnold’s recount of the Raiders’ first-round decision. Pierce also denied speaking with Arnold during the draft.

Pierce said as soon as both J.J. McCarthy and Nix went off the board, the team agreed on Bowers as the selection. The team viewed a value gap between the Daniels-Caleb WilliamsDrake Maye tier and the McCarthy-Penix-Nix trio, helping to explain why the Raiders stayed at No. 13 after Daniels went off the board.

The Raiders do figure to be linked to QBs in the 2025 draft class months ahead of that event, as Gardner Minshew sits as a clear bridge option. Although Pierce made no secret of the team’s QB need this offseason, the Raiders appear set to table that rather critical issue to 2025. A pre-draft report suggested Pierce was readier to trade up for a passer in Round 1 compared to GM Tom Telesco. It is not known how aggressive the Raiders were in their pursuit of a first-round arm, but they ended up standing down and will go into their offseason program with Minshew and Aidan O’Connell.

Pre-draft rumors suggested Bowers would not make it out of the top 10, and the Rams tried to trade up for the standout tight end. But the six-QB run helped Bowers tumble to No. 13. Bowers comes to Las Vegas after being the rare tight end to lead his team in receiving in each of his college seasons. Yardage-wise, Bowers went 882-942-714 at Georgia, becoming a central part of the Bulldogs’ two national championship wins as an underclassman. Bowers, who totaled 26 touchdown receptions in his college career, missed time last season due to ankle surgery.

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