Ryan Switzer is again on the move.
The Oakland Raiders are finalizing a trade that will send the diminutive receiver/returner to the Pittsburgh Steelers, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported. Pittsburgh also acquired a 2019 sixth-round pick in the deal, in which it sent Oakland a fifth-round pick, Rapoport added. Yahoo! Sports first reported the news.
Switzer's time as a Raider comes to an end after four months in Silver and Black. Drafted by Dallas in the fourth round in 2017, Switzer was shipped west by the Cowboys after they retooled their receiver room with the additions of Tavon Austin, Allen Hurns and rookie Michael Gallup.
Something similar happened to Switzer in Oakland, with the Raiders trading for deep threat Martavis Bryant and signing veteran Jordy Nelson, though it was fairly clear Switzer's primary role would come on special teams.
He still had a shot to carve out a role as a returner for the Raiders, but returned just three punts in three preseason games for a total of two yards and two fair catches. Fellow offseason addition Griff Whalen had a stronger showing during the preseason, leaving Switzer as the odd man out.
Switzer moves from the Raiders to a Steelers team that hasn't been afraid to take fliers on players discarded by other organizations with mixed results (see: Justin Gilbert, Darrius Heyward-Bey). Pittsburgh is fairly thin in the return department, slotting offensive and defensive starters in at the kick- and punt-returning positions.
For a team that has its eyes on a deep postseason run, a few less run-ins with defenders per game for players like Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Artie Burns is worth a low-risk trade for Switzer. It also provides another chance for the former North Carolina Tar Heel to establish an NFL career, with a reminder for Switzer to rent, not buy.