With the NFL Draft over, the Las Vegas Raiders have been very busy signing undrafted free agents. The last thing the team needed was another tight end but they may have found the best free-agent option. According to Aaron Wilson, Las Vegas struck a deal with former BYU tight end Matt Bushman.
BYU tight end Matt Bushman joins Las Vegas Raiders for $10,000 signing bonus and $125,000 guaranteed portion of his base salary.
— Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) May 2, 2021
Notably, Bushman didn’t play last season due to an Achilles injury. That certainly didn’t help his draft stock as he was an intriguing tight end option before the injury. Bushman was a stud for BYU. In 2019, he was No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson’s top receiver. He led the cougars with 688 receiving yards. He also led the team in 2018 with 511 receiving yards. Had it not been for injury, he almost certainly would’ve been drafted.
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Bushman an ‘Absolute Gem’
Achillies injuries are always very concerning for players. It’s especially hard for a 6-foot-5, 245-pound man like Bushman to recover from those types of injuries. If he can get healthy again, he could be a serious steal for the Raiders. In fact, some believe that he’ll be an absolute gem.
Someone is about to get an absolute gem in Matt Bushman. Had Bushman played this year with Zach at BYU, he’d be one of the first TE’s off the board.
Instead he goes undrafted because of the preseason injury.
Will be one of the most successful UDFA’s of 2021 ✍️ #NFLdraft
— Brian Fagan (@bdfagan) May 1, 2021
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein isn’t as high on the tight end but he does think he has talent as a receiver:
Gangly pass-catching tight end coming into the 2021 draft with no 2020 tape after suffering an Achilles injury just before the season kicked off. He has good yards-per-catch numbers and quality ball skills, but is unable to separate against tight man coverage and struggles to finish contested catches. He’s a poor blocker at the point of attack.
Raiders Have Great TE Group
If Bushman is hoping to make an impact on an NFL team, he’s going to get the chance to learn from one of the best. Darren Waller was a Pro Bowler last season and is one of the three best tight ends in the NFL. Similar to Bushman, he’s best as a receiver. Waller will be an amazing resourced for him.
While the 2020 Pro Bowler gets most of the hype at tight end, the Raiders have an excellent No. 2 option in Foster Moreau. He saw his role decrease significantly last season with the addition of Jason Witten. Witten is now retired and the Raiders haven’t signed any notable tight ends. Moreau will take his spot as No. 2 on the depth chart. He’s not a big name but can be an important piece of the team’s offense. Prior to getting hurt in 2019, he caught five touchdowns in 13 games. The Raiders struggled to score touchdowns in the red zone last year and should figure out how to better integrate Moreau as a threat.
It’s no secret that Jon Gruden loves him some tight ends. This is one of the best teams that Bushman could go to. It’s a bit of concern that former tight end coach Frank Smith is no longer with the team. That said, the Raiders have a great nucleus in place and should get a lot of production from the position group.
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