Kyle Rudolph seems like a Jon Gruden type of player. The tight end is a longtime NFL standout, who is also a leader and he is now available. The Minnesota Vikings released the 10-year veteran on Tuesday afternoon.
It makes total sense that Gruden would be interested in Rudolph. However, he shouldn’t make a move for the veteran tight end.
The Raiders absolutely must develop the 2019 fourth-round pick this season. They cannot repeat another free-agency mistake. Last year, Gruden went after another longtime productive tight end when he signed Jason Witten. At 38, Witten ended up playing way more than Moreau, who turns 24 in May, in most games.
It was a bad move by Gruden and he can’t do it again. This is nothing against Witten or Rudolph. It’s simply about getting Moreau to the next level.
The LSU product could be a strong player, but his development was delayed in 2020. It was baffling that Witten played so much more than Moreau as the backup to starting tight end Darren Waller.
Moreau had 21 catches on 25 targets in 2019 as a rookie. He had seven catches on just nine targets in 2020. It would be a stretch to blame his lack of action on the torn ACL Moreau suffered in December, 2019. Moreau played in every game in 2020 and didn’t miss major practice time.
While Rudolph would probably fit in Gruden’s offense, the coach must show restraint and pledge more time to a young tight end who is already in his system.