When the Raiders recently welcomed new fullback Keith Smith in free agency, it signaled the end for Jamize Olawale at the position.
That became official Tuesday when Oakland traded Olawale — a versatile player for his six seasons in silver and black — to the Dallas Cowboys, along with a sixth-round pick in the upcoming draft, in exchange for a fifth-round selection.
Olawale was a mainstay on special teams and an athletic, versatile fullback for the Raiders offense since 2012. Last season, Olawale — who played at North Texas and originally signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2012 before the Raiders signed him in December of that year — carried the ball just nine times for 43 yards and a touchdown, while also catching six passes for 33 yards. He scored seven TDs for the Raiders over his career, including one on a 75-yard catch-and-run in 2016.
Smith now takes Olawale's place in Jon Gruden's new offense, and will be a key piece to the running game. The 6-foot, 232-pounder from San Jose State is a former linebacker who switched to fullback in 2016. He's known as a physical blocker, which is where he'll make his mark and fulfill Gruden's pledge that he's "trying to throw the game back to 1998." Smith carried the ball just twice over two seasons in Dallas, for 5 yards, with eight catches for 46 yards. He also was a big contributor for Dallas' special teams.
Smith, whose nickname is "Beef," was part of a long line of tough fullbacks with the Cowboys such as Walt Garrison, Robert Newhouse and Daryl Johnston.
In Dallas, Smith said he loved opening up holes for running back Ezekiel Elliott. Now he hopes to do the same for Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington.
"As a fullback, we lick our chops when we get to run the ball," Smith said when he was in Dallas. "That means we get some love. Getting to hit people, it’s always cool."