Raiders RB in Danger of Getting Cut: ‘The Signing Fell Flat’

kenyan drake

Getty Las Vegas Raiders RB Kenyan Drake.

Based on the Las Vegas Raiders‘ offseason, it’s clear that Josh McDaniels plans to use a lot of running backs. The team currently has six on the roster, including two recently drafted rookies. During McDaniels’ days with the New England Patriots, they never paid running backs big money. It’s clear that he plans to take that same approach in Las Vegas.

2019 first-round pick Josh Jacobs had his fifth-year option declined, which likely means this is his last year as a Raider. One move McDaniels would’ve never done was giving Kenyan Drake a two-year contract worth $11 million like Jon Gruden did last offseason. Drake is a good running back but the Raiders already had one in Jacobs and there was no reason to pay him that kind of money.

McDaniels will most likely need to figure out a role for Drake as most of his contract is guaranteed this season. However, Ian Wharton of Bleacher Report believes that the running back is the best player on the team who could get cut this offseason:

Two years after drafting running back Josh Jacobs in the first round, the Raiders gave Drake a two-year, $11 million deal. Drake was never the missing answer for the offense, but the Raiders paid a premium for him.

The signing fell flat, as he produced only 93 touches for 545 total yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders didn’t have the offensive line for Drake to be an effective runner from the start.

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Raiders Wouldn’t Save Much Money

It’s difficult to see what Drake’s role would be this season. Jacobs is the likely starter but people are very high on fourth-round pick Zamir White out of Georgia. That’s not to mention proven veterans like Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah, who were both signed during free agency. Even though cutting Drake doesn’t have much financial incentive for the Raiders, Wharton still thinks they might have to do it:

Ziegler already restructured Drake’s contract to make 2023 a void year, so the full value of the deal won’t be realized. Cutting Drake would only save $250,000 against a $3.6 million dead cap hit. However, if Vegas keeps four backs on the roster, it’s hard to imagine the new regime keeping the backup from the previous group of decision-makers.

Should Raiders Cut Drake?

What the Raiders do at running back will be one of the biggest storylines of training camp. On the surface, cutting Drake makes no sense. They won’t save much money and he’s a good player who can make plays in the passing game. The Patriots loved pass-catching running backs while McDaniels was there.

Players like Brittain Brown and Abdullah could be brought back on the practice squad if the team likes them. Drake has also been big in the community and is a beloved teammate. There just doesn’t seem to be much upside to cutting him now. If a trade suitor were to emerge, then the Raiders should consider that but Drake should not be cut outright.

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