Ryan Switzer

Raiders Trade WR Ryan Switzer To Steelers

The Raiders have traded wide receiver Ryan Switzer to the Steelers. The Raiders will receive a fifth-round pick in the trade while sending their own sixth-rounder to Pittsburgh.

The deal marks the second time that Switzer has been traded this offseason. In April, the Cowboys shipped Switzer to Oakland after acquiring Tavon Austin from the Rams. Dallas acquired 2016 Raiders second-round pick Jihad Ward in that trade.

Switzer offers experience as both a kick and punt returner, and that’s likely the main draw to this trade from the Steelers’ perspective. Switzer could allow Pittsburgh to keep Antonio Brown away from punt returns and reduce the star’s risk for injury. Cornerback Cameron Sutton was pushing to hold down that job, but the Steelers might be having second thoughts after he fumbled against the Titans in Saturday’s preseason contest. Switzer may also be able to contribute as a slot receiver.

The Raiders seemed likely to keep Switzer, but it appears that he has been leapfrogged by Griff Whalen this offseason. Whalen’s toe injury may keep him from the field in Week 1, but the Raiders opted to get something in return for Switzer instead.

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Extra Points: Cards, Jags, Packers, Raiders

The baseline extension for Cardinals running back David Johnson should be three years, $30.85MM, reasons Joel Corry of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). That figure represents the combined value of Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson‘s contracts with the Browns, and Arizona would surely rather have Johnson on its roster than the Cleveland duo. Johnson, 26, managed more than 2,100 yards from scrimmage in 2017 before missing nearly the entire 2018 campaign, and he didn’t attend the Cardinals’ mandatory minicamp in something of a holdout, but Arizona is reportedly progressing on a deal with its best offensive player. For what it’s worth, a $10.28MM annual salary would make Johnson the league’s highest-paid running back on a multi-year deal, and place him only behind the franchise-tagged Le’Veon Bell in per annum salary. As Corry notes, both Johnson and Rams runner Todd Gurley are presumably hoping Bell signs a record-breaking extension in the near future, resetting the running back market just in time for each to receive new deals.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Like Johnson, Jaguars pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. is entering the final season of his rookie deal after Jacksonville opted not to exercise his 2019 fifth-year option, but the former third overall pick could be facing a health concern as the year gets underway, writes Hays Carlyon of 1010XL 92.5 FM. Fowler had been recovering from an unspecified upper body injury, and Carlyon reports Fowler has clearly lost “sizable muscle mass” over the past several weeks. That’s certainly not a positive for a player who relies on his edge-bending abilities, especially one like Fowler who faces an uncertain contractual future. Fowler, who posted eight sacks a season ago, would have earned $14.2MM had the Jaguars picked up his fifth-year option, but he’ll now head to the open market next spring barring an extension.
  • Speaking of preseason injuries, Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb is currently sporting a walking boot on his right foot, tweets Michael Cohen of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. While Cobb wouldn’t reveal whether he’d undergone surgery, Cohen indicates Cobb is dealing with an ankle injury that is not expected to to force him to miss any regular season action. Although Cobb hasn’t come close to matching his outstanding 2014 season over the past few years, he did manage to top 60 receptions in both 2016 and 2017. Jordy Nelson is no longer in Green Bay, but that won’t necessarily affect Cobb’s role, as he spends most of his time in the slot.
  • Nelson is now with the Raiders, where he’ll be joined in Oakland’s wide receiver corps by trade acquisition Ryan Switzer, whom the Raiders picked up from the Cowboys in exchange for defensive lineman Jihad Ward“Ryan Switzer has really caught my eye,” head coach Jon Gruden said, per Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Switzer has come in here and not only been a punt returner, kick returner, he’s come in and been a force as a slot receiver. He’s really done well.” Switzer, who put up only 41 receiving yards during his rookie season in 2017, will compete for time with Nelson, Amari Cooper, Martavis Bryant, and Seth Roberts, among others.

Cowboys Trade Ryan Switzer To Raiders

Hours after acquiring Tavon Austin from the Rams, the Cowboys are set to send one of their slot weapons and return options to California.

The Raiders will trade for Ryan Switzer, Ian Rapoport and Jane Slater of NFL.com report (Twitter link). Switzer came to the Cowboys as a 2017 fourth-round pick. The deal will bring back 2016 Raiders second-round pick Jihad Ward, a defensive lineman that has struggled as a pro.

Switzer served as Dallas’ primary return man, working in both return capacities as a rookie. He’ll now join a Raiders team that not only added a former Cowboy return man this offseason in Dwayne Harris but one that’s retooling its non-Amari Cooper contingent of the wideouts’ room.

This is Oakland’s second wide receiver acquisition via trade this weekend. The Raiders added Martavis Bryant as well. The primary connector here between Switzer and the Raiders is new Oakland special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who coached the North Carolina product with the Cowboys last season.

The Raiders have been trying to unload incumbent slot player Seth Roberts, but as of now he remains on the team. They’ve added Jordy Nelson as well and dumped Michael Crabtree, so the Silver and Black’s receiving corps will look completely different in 2018.

An Illinois product, Ward profiled as a project player coming to Oakland in 2016. The Raiders have a new defensive coordinator and have added a slew of defensive line options in this draft — most notably Arden Key and Maurice Hurst Jr. — so Ward will be departing. He graded as the worst full-time interior defender as a rookie, per Pro Football Focus, and didn’t see much time last season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Cousins, Cowboys, Garoppolo, Cards

One of the top dominos to fall in free agency this offseason will be the future of Kirk Cousins. The Redskins have used both the transition tag and franchise tag on the signal-caller in the last two years, respectively, and their intentions this offseason remain unknown.

One option would be to again use a tag on Cousins and then trade him to another team, NBC Sports’ Rich Tandler writes. In theory, Tandler states, Cousins would agree to a deal with another team but would not sign an offer sheet. He would then be receive the transition tag from Washington, who would then trade him to the agreed upon team.

Tandler notes the pros to the deal would be an assurance to Cousins that Washington wouldn’t match an offer, the Redskins would receive compensation for his departure and the other team would get their franchise quarterback without signing him to a heavily front-loaded contract.

Of the teams who would potentially be interested in such a deal, the Browns, Broncos and Jets seem like the most obvious candidates to get something done.

It’s still early in the offseason, but the Cousins situation will be among the most interesting and pivotal of the offseason.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Cowboys wide receiver Ryan Switzer underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone spurs from his left ankle, the team reported. Primarily deployed as a kickoff and punt returner in his rookie season, the North Carolina product is expected to assume a heavier workload on offense in his second season.
  • The Cardinals are looking to hire Titans defensive line coach Nick Eason for the same position, AZ Central’s Kent Somers hears (Twitter link). The position was previously held by Brentson Buckner for the last five seasons. Eason played 10 seasons in the NFL and has been with the Titans since 2014.
  • 49ers general manager John Lynch has stated often that he envisions Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback in San Francisco for the foreseeable future. Lynch confirmed this week that steps have been taken to ensure that happens, reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch writes. The chances of Garoppolo playing somewhere other than the Bay Area in 2018 are slim to none. If a multi-year deal cannot be quickly reached, the team is sure to use the franchise tag on the signal-caller who has yet to lose as a starter in the NFL (7-0).

East Rumors: Jets, Pats, Switzer

Rich Cimini of ESPN.com recently expounded on last week’s discussion of the Jets‘ QB battle, and while he does not believe the team’s insistence that it will be an open competition is a charade, he does reaffirm his (and everyone’s) belief that Josh McCown is the heavy favorite to open the season under center. But in his latest post, Cimini goes into a little more detail as to how he believes the next few months will play out. He believes that, by the end of minicamp in mid-June, McCown will be the clear-cut front-runner and Christian Hackenberg will be the No. 2. When training camp opens, head coach Todd Bowles will remove Bryce Petty from the starting competition, as it’s hard enough to have a competition among two quarterbacks, much less three. Cimini also believes Hackenberg will get plenty of action in the team’s first two preseason games, but that Bowles, with his job on the line, will ultimately give the job to McCown, though Hackenberg will get the nod at some point this year.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • The Jets picked up tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins after he was waived by the Buccaneers last September, and while he posted only 10 catches in seven games for New York last season, the team believes the light has finally come on for the former second-round pick. As Cimini writes, ASJ has dropped 25 pounds, he was a diligent participant in the offseason conditioning program, and his performance has caught everyone’s eye at OTAs. Now that the Jets have an offensive coordinator who utilizes the tight end as a pass catcher, ASJ is a dark horse candidate for a breakout season, especially as he enters his contract year.
  • Mike Reiss’ of ESPN.com reports that Andrew Hawkins‘ one-year deal with the Patriots is a minimum salary benefit pact, meaning his base salary will be $900K, his bonus won’t exceed $80K, and his salary cap charge won’t be more than $695K. Reiss says that Hawkins passed up more lucrative opportunities with other clubs because New England was his top choice.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe applauds the Patriots‘ recent decision to add a healthy incentive package to Rob Gronkowski‘s current contract even though they had no need to do so, as he believes it’s simply smart business to keep Gronk healthy and motivated. Volin does wonder, though, whether the incentives will compel Gronkowski to push himself more than he otherwise would throughout the regular season, thereby reducing his effectiveness when the playoffs roll around.
  • Ryan Switzer, whom the Cowboys selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft, took first-team reps as the slot receiver during the first week of OTAs, as Cole Beasley was held out due to hamstring soreness. But as Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News writes, the Cowboys have big plans for Switzer even when Beasley returns, and they are working on packages for both to be on the field at the same time. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of Switzer, “He’s a classic slot receiver. He has a similar game [to Beasley], but he has his own things. We would really like those two guys to be able to complement each other and run real similar route trees. He complements Beasley and also gives us some big-time needed depth at that position.”

Cowboys Sign Seven Draft Picks

The Cowboys have agreed to pacts with seven draft picks, leaving third-round cornerback Jourdan Lewis as the only member of their nine-rookie class without a contract, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Dallas, which reached a deal with first-round defensive end Taco Charlton on Thursday afternoon, signed this group in the evening:

Chidobe Awuzie

Awuzie was reportedly gaining momentum as a potential first-rounder in the weeks leading up to the draft, but he ultimately come off the board late in the second. The four-year starter at Colorado had his most productive seasons from 2015-16, combining for 150 tackles, eight sacks and three interceptions, and should see plenty of playing time as a rookie in Dallas. The Cowboys, who ranked a mediocre-at-best 18th in DVOA against the pass last year, lost cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne to free agency. The club will try to make up for the veterans’ departures with a corner group consisting of Orlando Scandrick, Anthony Brown, Awuzie and Nolan Carroll, among others.

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