Outside of a handful of players, most on the Las Vegas Raiders roster will be auditioning for their futures with the team this season. Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler have no allegiances to players brought in from the previous management. They made that clear when they declined the fifth-year options for Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram.
Ferrell and Abram not getting a fifth year wasn’t a surprise but there was a chance that Jacobs could. McDaniels had some strong praise for the Pro Bowl running back getting the job and the extra year would’ve only cost $8 million. However, McDaniels comes from the New England Patriots, which is a team that is known to never pay running backs good money.
The Raiders decided to draft Zamir White in the fourth round of the recent draft. If he impresses in training camp, the team might not see a need to have Jacobs on the roster. Alex Ballentine of Bleacher Report believes the Raiders could consider a “shocking” trade of the running back:
Much like Abram, the Raiders already declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option. That doesn’t mean they are out on him, as they could still sign him to an extension. However, the Raiders would have a respectable backfield even without him.
A combination of Kenyan Drake, Zamir White and Bolden would be able to provide a facsimile of Jacobs’ production without relying on one back. That should be enough to consider moving on if they can get a worthwhile pick in the 2023 draft.
ALL the latest Raiders news straight to your inbox! Subscribe to the Heavy on Raiders newsletter here!
No Need to Trade Jacobs Now
With Jacobs’ injury history and expiring contract, the Raiders won’t get much in a possible trade unless a contender has injuries and gets desperate. White could have a bright future but he also dealt with two torn ACLs during his time at Georgia. He has to prove he can consistently stay healthy before the Raiders commit to him as a starting running back.
Jacobs was a team captain last season and is one of the best running backs in the NFL when he can stay healthy. He’s also only making $2.1 million this season, so he’s not a huge financial burden. There’s no reason to consider trading Jacobs right now unless there’s a great offer on the table.
Jacobs Ranked as 10th Best RB in NFL
Jacobs got off to a rocky start last season. He couldn’t stay healthy and the Raiders’ poor offensive line play made it difficult for him to do anything. Towards the end of the season, Jacobs started to look like himself again. He had 324 rushing yards over the last three games of the season. Pro Football Focus recently ranked Jacobs as the 10th best running back in the NFL:
Las Vegas’ decision not to pick up Jacobs’ fifth-year option is more an indictment of the process that went into making him a first-round selection in 2019 rather than Jacobs’ on-field performance.
The Alabama product has been one of the most elusive backs on the ground since entering the NFL three seasons ago, recording 177 forced missed tackles as a runner since 2019. The only running back in the league with more is Chubb (181). And Jacobs also showed that he could take on a larger role as a receiver in 2021 with a career-high 54 receptions.