With Jalen Richard headed to injured reserve, the Las Vegas Raiders needed depth at running back. B.J. Emmons and Trey Ragas were battling for that third running back spot in training camp but didn’t do enough to earn a spot on the active roster. Both were brought back on the practice squad but the Raiders don’t believe that either is ready to replace Richard.
The team has decided to replace the veteran with Peyton Barber. According to Ben Standig of The Athletic, the Raiders have signed the running back off of Washington’s practice squad and will be on the active roster.
Barber should be a solid pickup for Las Vegas. He’s started 30 games in his career, including starting all 16 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018. That season, he rushed for 871 yards and scored five total touchdowns. Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake will be carrying most of the workload for the Raiders this season but Barber brings them veteran depth and can certainly get some carries if they need him to.
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Will Richard Return to Raiders This Season?
The Raiders have been very secretive with their injuries this offseason. We don’t know the extent of Richard’s injury quite yet but it was bad enough for him to be put on the short-term Injured Reserve. That means he won’t be able to play until Week 4 at the earliest. However, It’s possible that his absence is much longer.
Richard has been an iron man for the Raiders. He played in all 16 games each year from 2016 to 2019. He didn’t miss a game until COVID-19 forced him to miss three games last season. The foot injury he’s dealing with now is the first serious injury he’s had in the NFL. Knowing his track record, he should be back before the season is halfway through but it’s hard to know for sure as the Raiders haven’t given the media anything concrete to go on.
Raiders Should Have a Dynamic Running Game
Last year, the Raiders finished 14th in the NFL in rushing despite having a Pro Bowl running back in Jacobs. They finished 13th in 2019, which is surprising to think considering the offense was built around the run. Jon Gruden loves to run the ball but the Raiders actually haven’t been an elite rushing team. That likely played a big role in why they signed Drake this offseason.
Jacobs gives the team a power running back who is elite at breaking tackles and is one of the hardest players to take down in the NFL. Drake gives the Raiders a more finesse player who can make plays as a receiver. Those two should form one of the NFL’s best duos. Jacobs’ body has had a hard time staying healthy throughout a whole season so having another workhorse in Drake should only help him stay fresh. Barber is a player who can help in short-yardage but shouldn’t receiver many carries.