The Las Vegas Raiders made some mistakes in the offseason but perhaps the biggest one was declining Josh Jacobs‘ fifth-year option. The running back should be under team control for another season at a reasonable price. Instead, he’s set to hit free agency once the season is over.
This wasn’t a concern when the Raiders didn’t think that they’d need Jacobs past this season but he’s proving them wrong. The former Pro Bowler is having easily the best season of his career. He leads the NFL in rushing with 1,159 yards, which is a career-high with six games left to play.
Jacobs has been a major talking point this week after he torched the Seattle Seahawks for 303 total yards. It was one of the best performances by a running back ever, not just this season. Running backs aren’t as valuable as they once were but the Raiders need to figure out a way to keep Jacobs. Luckily, they may not need to give him a long-term deal yet. According to Spotrac’s Michael Ginnitti, Las Vegas will almost certainly use the franchise tag on Jacobs.
“I think no question that the $12 to 12.5 million [franchise] tag, which is what it currently projects to, is coming for Josh Jacobs, which is exactly where we have him calculated anyway,” Ginnitti said on 920 AM Raider Nation Radio’s “Unnecessary Roughness,” via Raiders Beat. “So you want to do it for four years or you want to do it for one year? I think either way that’s going to be the number that we talk about with Jacobs.”
Raiders Haven’t Used Franchise Tag Since 2012
The Raiders are not a team that typically uses the franchise tag. They haven’t used it in a decade when they hit former safety Tyvon Branch with it in 2012. Dave Ziegler is the general manager now and he hasn’t had a reason to use it yet. That could change this offseason.
Jacobs’ fifth-year option would’ve been around $8 million a year. There’s no way the team is getting him at that number again. He’s getting over $10 million a year. The franchise tag would be an easier pill to swallow as $12 million isn’t too much for an elite running back. If they gave him a long-term deal, it would likely be for over $14 million a year. Hitting Jacobs with the franchise tag would give the team a chance to further evaluate him and see how their other running backs are developing. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for the Raiders.
Davante Adams Wants Jacobs Paid
There’s no question that Jacobs has earned a big payday in the offseason. He’s been playing like the best running back in the NFL. In the past, he’s been a good runner but now he’s making plays in the passing game. He’s developed into a complete back.
His Raiders teammates are well-aware that he’s in the final year of his contract. After the win over the Seahawks, Davante Adams interrupted Jacobs’ postgame interview to make a gesture that suggested he wants the team to pay the running back.
Having Jacobs makes the whole team better and everybody knows it. It will be very interesting to see how the Raiders attack the situation this offseason.