Jermaine Gresham spent two days visiting the Raiders right after the start of NFL free agency, and all signs pointed to the tight end agreeing to terms on a contract during that trip.
Given how extremely close the sides were to consummating a deal, it seemed strange that the former Cincinnati tight end left without a deal in place.
Roughly one week later, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Gresham had a back injury discovered “during the free-agent process.”
That problem has been fixed. Renowned Los Angeles-based back specialist Dr. Robert Watkins performed successful surgery repair a herniated disc in Gresham’s back.
That type of offseason surgery didn’t cross Gresham off the Raiders’ list. Nothing is certain, but talks could rekindle in the future.
“He’s still on my board,” general manager Reggie McKenzie told CSN Bay Area at the NFL owners meetings. “We’ll see how he feels and how he rehabs and all that. Going forward, it will be more about how he wants to navigate through this.”
The 26-year old is an attractive commodity for a team in need of depth and versatility at tight end. The Raiders signed blocking tight end Lee Smith in free agency and have pass catcher Mychal Rivera on the roster heading into his third season. Gresham could make that group truly strong.
Gresham has been a steady producer as a run blocker and receiver over the last five years. His best statistical season came in 2012, when he had 64 receptions for 737 yards. He can be a force in the passing game and, at 6-foot-5, 260 pounds, would be a valuable target for quarterback Derek Carr.