Raiders in Talks to Sign Key Free Agent Projected to Earn $51 Million Contract

josh mcdaniels

Getty Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.

The Las Vegas Raiders need to make some additions all over the roster but they also have some key free agents they should re-sign. The biggest name that is no longer under contract with the team is running back Josh Jacobs. The team had a chance to retain him for a fifth year but declined his option prior to last season.

He responded by leading the NFL in rushing yards and getting named First-Team All-Pro. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler didn’t appear to have long-term plans for Jacobs prior to the 2022 season but now he’s too valuable to the team to let him walk for nothing. McDaniels revealed that the Raiders are currently working with Jacobs’ agent to try and work out a contract.

“[We] would love for JJ to continue being a Raider,” McDaniels said during media availability at the NFL Scouting Combine. “I know Dave [Ziegler] and his (Jacobs’s) representative have been in contact. They’re working through that process together. And that’s the hope and the goal, is that he’s here for a while. So we’ll see how that all plays out.

“But, again, Dave and — him and Josh’s representatives have been in contact and that’s the goal. That’s what we’re working towards.”

How Much Money Will Jacobs Make?

The Raiders did Jacobs a favor by declining his fifth-year option. He’s now going to get paid a year earlier than he was supposed to. Running backs don’t get paid like they used to anymore but he’s still in line for a big payday. According to Spotrac, Jacobs is projected to earn a contract of four years worth $51.4 million. That’d give him an annual salary of $12.85 million a season.

That’s a reasonable price for the Raiders to pay. He’s arguably the best running back in the NFL but there are three other running backs making more than $13 million a year. Jacobs may want to reset the market but he’s admitted he’d be willing to take less if the Raiders find the right quarterback. He has no way of knowing who will be the quarterback right now so he’ll just have to trust the front office to set the team up for success.

Franchise Tag Deadline Looming

It’s hard to envision a scenario in which Jacobs isn’t on the Raiders next season. If the two sides can’t come to a deal, there’s a strong possibility the team will use the franchise tag on him. That will keep him under team control for another year but he likely won’t be very happy. The Raiders don’t have much time to make a decision. The deadline to use the franchise tag is on March 7.

That only gives the Raiders days to decide if they’re going to tag Jacobs. If a deal isn’t reached, Las Vegas would be wise to tag the running back to keep him from testing free agency. They’d still be able to work out a long-term deal in the offseason but they wouldn’t risk losing him in free agency for nothing. At the very least, the team could use the transition tag, which would allow Jacobs to meet with other teams but they’d have to send the Raiders two first-round picks if they were to sign him.

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