Raiders Predicted to Sign Pro Bowl Free Agent: ‘You Could Almost Book That’

dave ziegler

Getty Las Vegas Raiders GM Dave Ziegler.

The Las Vegas Raiders are set to enter a pivotal offseason with a likely quarterback change on the way. However, quarterback won’t be the only major focus for the team this offseason. Running back Josh Jacobs is set to win the NFL’s rushing title this year heading into Week 18.

He’s arguably been the best running back in the NFL this season. Even likely Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa recently said that Jacobs is the best running back he’s ever played against. He’s just 24 years old and still has plenty of good football ahead of him. Unfortunately, the Raiders made a major mistake when they declined his fifth-year contract option prior to the season. Thanks to that, the team will have to pay him well to stick around.

Head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler both come from a team that never paid running backs good money. That said, they’ve never had a running back as good as Jacobs. He’s proven to be massively important to the team. While it looked like Jacobs was entering his last year in Las Vegas prior to the season, it appears the Raiders are going to do what they can to keep him. According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, there is no way that the team allows Jacobs to leave in free agency.

“I would say it’s almost 100% Josh Jacobs will be back next year,” Bonsignore said on “Unnecessary Roughness.” “You could almost book that. They’re going to figure out a way to get that done, and they have a lot of tools at their disposal, including the franchise tag to get that done. If you’re worried about Josh Jacobs not being here, I think you can probably sleep pretty easily on that one.”

How Much Could Jacobs Get Paid?

Great running backs are as important to a team as any other position but that hasn’t led to them getting paid a premium. Over the years, the position has lost value due to the fact that running backs don’t have the same career longevity as most positions. The highest-paid running back in the NFL right now is Christian McCaffrey, who is making $16 million a season, per Over the Cap.

If the Raiders decide to franchise tag Jacobs, he’d only be making $12.6 million. That’s less than McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott are making this season but more than Derrick Henry, Nick Chubb and Aaron Jones. That seems like a fair price point for Jacobs but he could certainly argue he should be the highest-paid running back in the NFL. The franchise tag would give the Raiders a chance to negotiate a deal that works for both sides.

Would Jacobs Play on the Franchise Tag?

If the Raiders slap Jacobs with the franchise tag, they have to prepare for the fact that he might not be thrilled. We’ve seen running backs holdout in the past and things could get ugly. Jacobs doesn’t appear to be a player who wants to start drama. He’s a team leader and wants to win.

However, he’s dealt with injuries earlier in his career and may want to secure a long-term deal. It’s difficult for running backs to find lucrative long-term deals these days but he’s still young and has had an amazing season. This could be his best chance at securing a deal. Getting hit with the franchise tag could irk Jacobs and cause issues.

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