JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars on Wednesday addressed their tight end position.
In so doing, they signed a player with NFL experience – and with familiarity with at least a small part of the Jaguars' roster.
Mychal Rivera, a fifth-year NFL veteran who spent his first four seasons with the Oakland Raiders, has signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent. The team announced the move just after Rivera signed Wednesday.
"It's an incredible opportunity," Rivera said. "I'm just extremely thankful. It takes a lot of hard work to even make it to the NFL, to even get the eyes of scouts.
"To make it to a second contract and to get the opportunity to come to an organization like this and to have the opportunity to show the NFL what I can do and to continue my career and expand what I can do, it's truly a blessing and I'm happy."
Rivera (6-feet-3, 245 pounds) has 146 career receptions for 1,413 yards, catching 10 touchdowns in 61 career games. He has started 15 games in four seasons.
Jaguars have signed free agent tight end Mychal Rivera.
Rivera caught 38 receptions for 407 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie and started 10 games with 58 receptions for 534 yards with four touchdowns in 2014.
"It's all about hard work around here," Rivera said. "It's about winning. That's the goal. The goal is to win and order to do that, you have to work hard. There's no substitute for hard work. ...
"It's all about winning. That's all I'm about. Just like Oakland turned it around, I'm ready for Jacksonville to do the same thing."
Rivera, a sixth-round selection by the Raiders in the 2013 NFL Draft, played on the same high-school team at Van Nuys (Calif.) Birmingham High School as Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson. They also played together at Tennessee, where Rivera started 35 of 37 games after transferring from College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., and originally attending Oregon.
He caught 76 passes for 1,018 yards and six touchdowns at Tennessee.
Rivera's signing adds experienced to the tight end position, and gives the Jaguars six players with NFL experience there.
Marcedes Lewis, the team's most tenured player, will enter his 12th NFL season and caught 20 passes for 169 yards last season. Second-year veteran Ben Koyack caught 19 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown last season and third-year veteran Neal Sterling caught 12 passes for 110 yards.
Second-year veteran Alex Ellis caught three passes for 11 yards last season, and third-year veteran E.J. Bibbs caught one pass for Cleveland in 2015.
The seventh tight end on the Jaguars' roster is second-year veteran Gannon Sinclair.
"I've talked to the coaches about my role," Rivera said. "I can play Y, F … move tight end. I can be put all over the field: wideout, fullback, slot receiver – similar to what I did in Oakland. I can be all over the place catching a lot of balls."
Rivera was asked about playing a role as a blocker.
"I don't mind blocking at all," he said.
The Raiders went 11-37 in Rivera's first three seasons before a 12-4 record with a postseason appearance in 2016. He said he sees a similar opportunity for such a turnaround in Jacksonville.
"That's why I signed here," Rivera said. "I feel the same culture that's beginning here."