Heading into the offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders don’t have much cap space. According to Over The Cap, the team has a bit over $4 million left to spend. That doesn’t leave them a lot of room to add any additional pieces.
That fact could lead to the Raiders trying to create more cap flexibility before training camp. Jalen Richard is one of the longest-tenured players on the team but he’s got a cap hit of $3.5 million this season. That’s a bit steep for a third-string running back, which makes him expendable.
Maurice Moton of Bleacher Report predicts that Richard’s days as a Raider are numbered:
Richard is versatile, and the Raiders may need him in the backfield as a pass-blocker behind a remodeled offensive line, but he’s not a unique asset on the roster.
If Richard lands on the open market, he’s a good fit for the Tennessee Titans as a complementary pass-catching back to Derrick Henry under offensive coordinator Todd Downing, who served as the Raiders’ play-caller in 2017.
Richard is just one of three players left on the roster who were there before Jon Gruden took over. He’s become a fan favorite over the years but he could be too expensive. He’ll certainly get a shot on another team if the Raiders move on.
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Jon Gruden Talk How He’ll Use His RBs
A big reason Richard is expendable is because of the offseason addition of Kenyan Drake. He’d be a No. 1 on most teams but Josh Jacobs is still the team’s top back. That’ll give the Raiders one of the best running back tandems in the NFL. Gruden is well aware that he wants multiple solid running backs in his offense.
“A lot of people say ‘Why Kenyan Drake?’” Gruden told The Raiders Report recently. “Well, Doug Martin had 190 touches three years ago when [Marshawn] Lynch went down. DeAndre Washington had 144 touches when Jacobs went down two years ago. And this past year, Josh went down and Devontae Booker got 110 touches. So we’re going to try to circulate the touches Kenyan Drake’s way. He’s a guy that’s made big plays.”
Drake brings an interesting dynamic to the team as he’s an excellent receiver out of the backfield. He should compliment Jacobs very well.
Raiders Are Going to Run the Ball a Lot
One thing is clear from the Raiders offseason: They plan to run the ball a lot. First-round pick Alex Leatherwood is known more for his run blocking than he is for pass blocking. In fact, the team revamped the offensive line in order to get better at run blocking.
Gruden has never been shy about the fact that he wants to run the ball but the Raiders had to pass more last season. In a perfect world, the coach would have a more balanced offensive attack. With Drake joining the team, it’s hard to imagine the team doesn’t try to establish the run every single game.