Raiders make puzzling move signing veteran running back Theo Riddick

Raiders, Theo Riddick (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Raiders, Theo Riddick (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /

The Las Vegas Raiders have reportedly signed running back Theo Riddick to a one-year deal.

The Las Vegas Raiders continue to add to their already-deep running back room, this time with the signing of veteran Theo Riddick.

As first reported by ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, the Raiders are signing the longtime Detroit Lions running back to a one-year deal, pending a physical.

Riddick spent the first six years of his career playing with the Lions where he established himself as one of the best third-down backs in the NFL. However, he hasn’t played a regular-season game since 2018.

The former Notre Dame star signed with the Denver Broncos last offseason and spent the preseason there, but was ultimately placed on the injured reserve with a shoulder injury.

Widely regarded as one of the best pass-catching backs in the league, Riddick has hauled in a whopping 285 receptions during his six years in the NFL. That’s just three fewer than his career carry total of 288.

And with other 2,200 receiving yards to his name, his mere 1,023 career rushing yards seem minuscule. It’s clear where the strength of his game lies.

What isn’t clear, however, is where he fits in on the team.

It’s unclear what Theo Riddick’s role will be with the Raiders.

Give the Raiders credit, they set out with the goal of revamping their running back depth behind Josh Jacobs this offseason and they certainly did just that.

Jalen Richard and Rod Smith will return, but they’ll be joined by third-round rookie Lynn Bowden and veteran Devontae Booker. Throw in fullback Alec Ingold and former CFL running back William Stanback and you have quite the crowded backfield.

Now you can add Riddick to that list.

The Raiders also briefly signed another veteran in Jeremy Hill earlier in the month, but released him shortly following his signing after Smith and Booker were activated from the COVID-19 list.

What’s particularly puzzling about the Riddick signing is that his skill set seems incredibly redundant. Richard, Bowden, and Booker are all seen as receiving backs more so than true between-the-tackles runners.

Richard and Bowden, in particular, are near carbon copies of Riddick from the perspective of how they might be used in the offense. It’s unclear where Riddick fits into the plans.

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But at the very least, the Raiders continued to bolster their running back depth and that’s certainly never a bad thing.