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Raiders Offseason: Tyreik McAllister an under-the-radar signing

Speedy tailback was standout kick returner in CFL and has potential to do same in NFL

Winnipeg Blue Bombers v Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Tyreik McAllister served as a kick returner and pass-catching running back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats int he CFL this past season. The Las Vegas Raiders signed McAllister to a reserve/future contract on Tuesday.
Photo by John E. Sokolowski/Getty Images

Quite often, a future/reserve signing by an NFL team can be easily dismissed. And for good reason. Viewed as nothing more than potential training camp fodder and roster filler, players signed to these type of contracts tend not to last long on a team.

In the long run, Tyreik McAllister may be just that. But he has potential to become another future/reserve player to ink with the Las Vegas Raiders in January and become a regular contributor the following season.

As one of the 18 players the team signed to that particular contract, McAllister certainly its the bill of a player signed shortly after the regular season ends and not on the roster come the 2024. The University of Charleston product spent time with the Denver Broncos back in 2022 but didn’t land on an NFL team and took his talents to Canada. There, McAllister became a standout return specialist for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats showcasing electric speed with the ball in his hands.

The throwback Raiders would’ve made McAllister a signing, not just a reserve/contract due to his 4.39 timed speed the 40-yard dash he ran during an NFL Pro Day as prepped for the NFL Draft in 2022.

But he’s a longshot, nonetheless.

What helps McAllister in his Las Vegas bid are two things: Precedent and need.

Let’s start with precedent.

As mentioned above, he need only follow the same path defensive tackle Adam Butler took to become a gameday contributor on defense. Butler didn’t play a single down of football in 2022 before signing his future/reserve deal with the Raiders on Jan. 21, 2023. From there, he came into camp and organized team activities and proved he belonged. He played in all 17 game this past season racking up 28 total tackles, five sacks, nine quarterback hits, eight stops for loss, four pass deflections and a forced fumble as a rotating tackle on Las Vegas’ defensive line.

A player that is productive in practice and in games (preseason and/or regular season) are going to get snaps on any of the 32 teams in the league — no matter how they arrived on a team — and Butler is tangible proof of that. After playing zero snaps in 2022, Butler registered 527 for Las Vegas this past year (47 percent of the total defensive snaps).

Let’s switch over to need.

The Raiders running back room has potential to look very different with Josh Jacobs, Ameer Abdullah, and Brandon Bolden slated to hit unrestricted free agency. Las Vegas has a decision to make on Jacobs with Zamir White, Brittain Brown, Sincere McCormick, and McAllister as the only tailbacks currently under contract.

There’s a need for a pass-catching, third-down running back at the moment and the 5-foot-11, 180-pound McAllister has the skillset to to fill the role as a receiver out of the backfield. after catching 27 passes for 364 yards and two scores this past season for the Tiger-Cats. A third-down back also serves as a keen pass protector for the quarterback and that’s something McAllister needs to prove.

Las Vegas may have another needy spot McAllister can fill and that’s on special teams. Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, the Raiders primary kickoff return man, is headed to unrestricted free agency after his one-year deal expired at the end of this season, and that’s where the 25-year-old McAllister had a breakout campaign in the CFL.

He led the league with an average of 25.3 yads per kickoff return had racked up 1,037 yards on 41 attempts (a long of 71 yards). He also notched seven missed field goal returns to the tune of 408 yards and a touchdown this past year for Hamilton.

With so many things unsettled not only roster-wise, but also lead personnel person wise at general manager in Las Vegas, McAllister has a chance to show he belongs when the Raiders reconvene for the 2024 campaign. And just like how Butler both set a precedent recently as a future/reserve signing turned contributor (and also filled a need at defensive tackle), McAllister is afforded a similar opportunity.

Newly minted head coach Antonio Pierce sought more impact from his special teams return units and a player with speed McAllister can help ignite a more electric competition and bring more explosive plays to return crew missing juice.