Daniel Carlson | Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Sato would become first NFL player from Japan
The Raiders are reportedly one of two teams that have shown interest in kicker Toshiki Sato, who is attempting to become the first Japanese player in the NFL.
Sato, 26, tried out for teams in the spring and said the Raiders and the Dallas Cowboys have shown interest. He said in an interview he thinks he could get a potential deal from the Raiders if their kickers struggle in training camp.
“The Cowboys and Raiders are interested. I’m waiting for an offer,” Sato, who currently plays for X-League side IBM Big Blue, told Kyodo News. “The Cowboys might be difficult since they have three kickers and one has a big contract, but the Raiders only have two. I think there’s a chance I could get an invite if those two don’t do well at the upcoming camp.”
The Raiders are bringing back incumbent Daniel Carlson and signed well-regarded Utah State kicker Dominik Eberle as an unrestricted free agent. Carlson was excellent in 2018 after the Raiders picked him up after the Vikings cut him as a rookie. He missed just one field goal with the Raiders in 2018. But Carlson faded some last season as he missed seven of 26 field-goal attempts.
My read on this is that the Raiders have Sato on their list if things go sour in camp with Carlson ad Eberle. But I’d also imagine Las Vegas has other kickers on its list as well.
If Sato were to play for the Raiders, it would continue the Raiders’ great work in diversity. Under the late Al Davis, the Raiders had their first Latino (Tom Flores) and black (Art Shell) head coaches in the league and Amy Trask was the first women in a leadership role with an NFL team.