Jermaine Gresham was in the East Bay for nearly two days after the start of free agency, and left without a deal. The Raiders didn’t land the versatile former Cincinnati tight end right away, even after productive early contract talks.
There might be a logical reason why things didn’t work out then, and it isn’t about money.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Gresham has a back injury that was discovered “during the free agent process.” The 26-year old will meet with a doctor on Wednesday to determine if he needs surgery, which could happen as early as Thursday. Rapoport reports that Gresham will be ready for training camp.
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An injury discovered during a free-agent physical would certainly provide cause to re-think a contract.
The Raiders have recent experience with such an event. They agreed in principle to employ guard Rodger Saffold on a five-year, $42 million contract, but found a shoulder injury that caused the Raiders to back out. Saffold eventually re-signed with St. Louis. Saffold played the season with the Rams, knowing he would require surgery after the 2014 campaign. The Raiders, as most teams do, want a full bill of health before investing big money.
The Raiders didn’t add pass-catching tight end in free agency, and are expected to reconsider Gresham after his injury is evaluated further or possibly when he’s on the mend following surgery, if a procedure is required.