The start of free agency is closing in and many teams around the league are getting ahead of re-signing some key veterans. The Las Vegas Raiders have quite a few free agents this offseason but it remains to be seen which ones they will keep. With the team franchise tagging Josh Jacobs, running back is certainly not a position of need.
Brandon Bolden, Zamir White and Brittain Brown were all on the roster last year and are still under contract. Despite having plenty of running backs, the Raiders have decided to bring another one back. The team announced that they’ve signed Ameer Abdullah to a one-year contract.
Abdullah was a later addition to the team last offseason but quickly carved out a role. By the end of the season, he was seeing more snaps than Bolden or White. He cemented himself as the Raiders’ third-down running back. Jacobs carries a vast majority of the rushing workload so it’s important to have a running back who can make plays in the passing game. Abdullah had 25 catches last season for 211 yards. He only carried the ball four times so the team doesn’t have an interest in using him much in the running game. Head coach Josh McDaniels is a big fan of his so he could see his role expand even further in 2023.
Raiders Also Sign Netane Muti
Abdullah wasn’t the only move the Raiders announced. They also revealed that they’re bringing back offensive guard Netane Muti. The 23-year-old offensive lineman spent much of last season with the Denver Broncos before the Raiders poached him off their practice squad. Las Vegas had some issues on the offensive line last season but Muti didn’t get the chance to see the field.
Prior to joining the Raiders, he played in 20 games for the Broncos over three seasons, starting three of them. The former sixth-round pick out of Fresno State is still young and has the potential to develop into an everyday player. The Raiders like what they saw from him last season and do have a need at guard. He’ll get every chance to earn one of those guard openings.
Will Raiders Carry 5 RBs Again?
Free agency hasn’t started yet and the Raiders are already projected to have five running backs on the roster, not including fullback Jakob Johnson who is set to hit free agency but likely to re-sign. Teams don’t typically keep more than three running backs on the active roster but that’s what Las Vegas did last season. That could’ve been due to uncertainty surrounding Jacobs’ future but it appears the team plans to retain him as long as they can.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario where the Raiders keep five running backs and a fullback again next season. Bolden is the most obvious choice to get cut. He’s the most familiar with McDaniels’ offense but is 33 and had just nine catches last season. The coach appeared to favor Abdullah as the season went on. Brown may also be a candidate to get cut before the season. The 2022 seventh-round pick out of UCLA played in six games for the Raiders last season but didn’t take a snap on offense. The team wouldn’t have kept him on the active roster all season if they didn’t think highly but they already have plenty of running back talent.