As expected, TrentSieg will return to the Raiders next season. The long snapper signed his tender with the organization on Friday. The Raiders had tendered the exclusive rights free agent earlier this month.
The former undrafted free agent out of Colorado State initially joined the Ravens out of college, but he was cut at the end of the 2018 preseason. When AndrewDePaola was injured several weeks later, the Raiders brought on Sieg.
The 24-year-old hasn’t missed a game since that time, as he’s appeared in all 31 of the Raiders regular season contests.
The Raiders also announced that several of their free agent signings are official, including linebacker NickKwiatkoski, safety JeffHeath, and defensive end CarlNassib.
The punter competition is between JohnnyTownsend and rookie A.J. Cole. The 24-year-old Townsend is the incumbent after appearing in all 16 games for the Raiders in 2018. However, the Florida product struggled at times during his rookie campaign, and he ranked 30th in the NFL with a 38.3-yard net average. The Raiders ended up adding Cole as an undrafted free agent, but Gehlken notes that Townsend is still the favorite for the position.
“He’s really done a great job working on his hang time,” said special teams coordinator RichBisaccia. “That’s improved tremendously (over) the course of the year. Now, we’ve given up a little bit of direction to get his hang time where he’d like it to be, and hopefully we can get both — the hang and the direction — going into training camp.”
Meanwhile, veteran AndrewDePaola is the favorite at long snapper, although the 31-year-old missed the majority of last season with a torn ACL. The Raiders signed TrentSieg to fill in, and the rookie ended up appearing in 15 games last year. While DePaola wasn’t able to get on the field with a rookie punter and rookie kicker, the veteran was still instrumental in their development.
“If we had any questions, we’d always ask him because he’s been through it a little more than we have,” Carlson said. “It was just huge for us last season to have that resource. It’s good to have him back and healthy and competing now again.”
Jones started 43 games at UTEP and tallied 40 tackles for a loss over the course of his NFL career. That’s a pretty solid showing for someone who played quarterback in high school and was initially recruited to UTEP as a safety.
Five Florida Gators were drafted last week, but Thompson did not hear his name called. The talented running back will now get his opportunity to go from the Ravens’ 90-man offseason roster to their 53-man roster in the fall. In a limited sample of work, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry as a senior, though ball security was an issue for him at UF. He’ll have to keep the fumbles to a minimum this offseason as the team already has four running backs on the roster in Alex Collins, Javorius Allen, John Crockett, and Kenneth Dixon plus two other UDFA RBs in Edwards and Turner.