The Las Vegas Raiders should be expecting a big year from their running backs in 2022. Led by former Pro Bowler Josh Jacobs, the group is deep and diverse. For Jacobs, that could be bad news.
The 2019 first-round pick has been the bell cow for the Raiders over the past three seasons but it’s possible the team takes a running back by committee approach. Jacobs has to feel a lot of pressure this season as the team declined his fifth-year option. He’s on an expiring deal and will be auditioning for every team in the NFL this season.
If he has a big season, he’ll get plenty of interest from around the league. However, he has his eyes set on one team. Though the Raiders declined his contract option, he hasn’t taken it personally and wants to remain with the team going forward.
“I’m a firm believer in the work that you put in is going to pay out for itself, and I had to be here either way,” Jacobs said, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “And this is where I want to be. I didn’t have no problem with it. It just gave me more of a reason to come in every day, gel with the guys and work.”
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Jacobs Has Raiders Tattoo
Perhaps the decision was premature but Jacobs got the Raiders’ logo tattooed on his arm after his rookie season. It’s always possible to remove tattoos but it’s not an easy process. It’ll certainly be awkward if he signs with another team but has a Raiders logo visible for everybody to see.
He’ll certainly have to figure out a way to cover it up if he goes to another team, especially if that team happens to be a Raiders rival.
Will Raiders Want to Keep Jacobs?
Jacobs is a very good running back. What’s held him back is his tendency to get injured. It hasn’t caused him to miss a ton of games but it has limited his production throughout every season of his career. Paying running backs big money isn’t fashionable in the NFL right now so Jacobs can’t expect a huge payday unless he has the best season of his career.
General manager Dave Ziegler was trained by Bill Belichick so it’s highly unlikely he’s going to like the idea of paying a running back. That’s likely why the Raiders drafted Zamir White in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Jacobs will either need to prove that he’s invaluable to the offense this season or be willing to take a small contract if he hopes to stay in Las Vegas. Also, if White isn’t as good as the Raiders hoped he be, that would help Jacobs’ chances. Regardless, he needs to put together a strong 2022 campaign. He has the ability to be a top running back but his body just hasn’t held up. It would be much more appealing to keep Jacobs around if he can go a full season without being banged up for half of the games.