Earlier in training camp, there was speculation that Josh Jacobs might not be with the Las Vegas Raiders when the season starts. The team quickly shut down those rumors and he appears set to be the team’s starting running back this season. However, there was another veteran running back on the chopping block.
There was talk of the Raiders possibly trading Kenyan Drake but the team couldn’t find suitors. They have decided to release him outright, per Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network.
The writing was on the wall for Drake based on the fact that he played in the team’s last two preseason games while Ameer Abdullah sat out. He clearly was outperforming him at training camp. According to Vic Tafur of The Athletic, the Raiders were trying to trade him but couldn’t find an interested party.
Drake is still a solid running back who makes plays in the passing game. He’ll land on his feet quickly.
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Raiders Don’t Save Money With This Move
One thing that worked in Drake’s favor was his contract. When the Raiders signed him in 2021, they guaranteed him $11 million over two years. Since the team has decided to cut him, they save a measly $250,000 in salary cap space.
The new regime led by head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler had nothing to do with the Drake signing. They clearly weren’t going to keep him on the roster just because of his contract. The new regime has done a lot to undo many of the mistakes that Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock made. The signing of Drake was odd at the time and only looks worse in hindsight. It’s just another blemish on Gruden and Mayock’s record.
McDaniels Praises His Running Backs
Cutting Drake shouldn’t be a big blow to the Raiders’ running back room. Jacobs is a Pro Bowl-level player and should thrive in McDaniels’ offense. Rookie Zamir White has impressed in training camp and should be the future of the position for the team. Abdullah and Brandon Bolden are both receivers out of the backfield and could both make the roster. McDaniels has been impressed with his group of running backs.
“I’ve always been a big believer in having as many good backs as you can have on your team because like I’ve said before, they get the ball more than anybody else … other than the quarterback, and usually they’re taking hits and getting contact when they have it,” McDaniels said, via ESPN. “So, there’s a chance for nicks and bumps and bruises and injuries. You just don’t ever want to get caught short in that area.
“I like what they’re doing. They push one another, they help one another, they work really hard together. We’ve got a lot of maturity in that room that continues to try to pull guys along, especially the young guys.”
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