The Las Vegas Raiders are preparing to enter a very important offseason. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler could be shown the door this time next year if the team doesn’t show improvement. While most of the focus will be on what happens at quarterback, the team also has a very important decision at running back.
The Raiders were essentially out on Josh Jacobs heading into the season. They declined his fifth-year option and drafted a possible replacement in Zamir White. Jacobs responded by having his best season as a pro and won the NFL rushing title with 1,653 rushing yards. White may be a very good running back but it’s hard to imagine he can replace that production. Jacobs now has an argument that he is the best running back in the NFL.
Teams that have a player of that caliber don’t typically let them walk in free agency. The Raiders actually helped Jacobs out because now he’s able to get a big contract sooner. Despite the team not picking up his option last year, he’s still interested in returning. In fact, he revealed that he would prefer it if he can stay in Las Vegas going forward.
“It has to make sense for me, but this is where I want to be,” Jacobs said Monday. “Hopefully, I’m back.”
Raiders Want Josh Jacobs Back
Based on last offseason, it didn’t appear that Ziegler or McDaniels had any intention of keeping Jacobs past the 2022 season. Things have almost certainly changed. Jacobs is too good to let walk in free agency.
Both McDaniels and Ziegler have expressed interest in bringing back the running back next season, via Tashan Reed of The Athletic.
Luckily for the Raiders, they can always use the franchise tag on Jacobs if they can’t reach a long-term deal. The running back franchise tag should only be around $10.1 million, per Over the Cap. That’s much lower than what Jacobs would likely get on the open market. Putting him on the franchise tag may end up being what’s best for the team. It’d give them another year to see if Jacobs can replicate his success while further evaluating White. Jacobs wouldn’t love it but there’s not much he could do in the situation. There is risk in going this route. If Jacobs replicates his 2022 season in 2023, the price for him will only go higher.
Insider Would Be Shocked if Josh Jacobs Isn’t Back
The fact that Jacobs wants to stay in Las Vegas will certainly help the Raiders. It would not be easy for the team to replace his production. The New England Patriots never paid running backs while Ziegler and McDaniels were there but they also never had one as good as Jacobs. He’s earned a big contract and the Raiders would be wise to explore how they can make it happen.
Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore is confident that the two sides get a deal done.
Bonsignore is closely connected to the team so he wouldn’t be putting out that tweet if he wasn’t confident that Jacobs is staying. With no other strong candidates for the franchise tag on the roster, the Raiders will almost certainly use it on the running back if they don’t iron out a long-term contract.