Raiders Among Favorites to Sign Pro Bowl Replacement for Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs of the Raiders will be a free agent -- as will potential replacement Derrick Henry.

Getty Josh Jacobs of the Raiders will be a free agent -- as will potential replacement Derrick Henry.

The Las Vegas Raiders have a star running back who is entering free agency in former first-round pick Josh Jacobs, who led the NFL in rushing and was a Pro Bowler in 2022. But could they seek to upgrade with another free-agent who has twice led the league in rushing and was a Pro Bowler four times in all, including in 2023? That’s the sentiment from the gambling site, which has the Raiders as the No. 3 favorite to sign Titans star Derrick Henry this offseason.

The site has the Raiders at plus-600 to sign Henry in free agency. That work out to about a 14% chance. The Patriots are the leading favorite to sign Henry, at plus-350, which is about a $22% chance. The Bengals are second, at plus-500.

Running back figures to be one of the most interesting positions in the league to watch in general, as the market has cratered in recent years. But the Raiders in particular will be worth watching because they have Jacobs (61.9 yards per game, 3.5 yards per carry) coming off a disappointing and injury-marred year, while backup Zamir White (99.3 yards per game in his four starts, and 4.7 yards per carry) thrived.

Perhaps throwing in the towel on Jacobs and landing Henry could return the Raiders to a solid, run-first offense.

Derrick Henry Still Dominant at 30

But the problem with Henry is that he is 30 years old. That usually is washed-up time for running backs in the NFL. If there is an exception to that rule, though, Henry might well be the best one.

Henry is not the 2,000-yard rusher (one of eight in NFL history) that he was in 2020, but Henry did carry for 1,167 yards and 12 touchdowns, and ranked second in the NFL in both categories. He led the league with 280 carries and, despite that, did not fumble all season.

He was named to the Pro Bowl roster, the fourth time in his career he has done so. Not only is Henry a history-making former 2,000-yard rusher, but he has led the NFL in yards and touchdown twice and is one of the great workhorses in the game’s history—he has scored double-digit touchdowns for six straight seasons and led the NFL in attempts for four of the past five years.

When it comes to free agency, though, Henry will be an interesting case study. Obviously, his talent is still there, but so is his age. Pro Football Focus projects him to get a reasonable two-year, $20 million contract. Spotrac, though, which has been heavily weighing the collapse of the running-back market, has him getting a one-year deal worth just $4.3 million.

Raiders Could Stick With Josh Jacobs

Either way, if the Raiders are looking for stars to boost their attack, Henry certainly qualifies. Of course, before we get to that point, the Raiders have a lot to work out.

They need a coach and a general manager, and both of those hires will have something to say about the direction of the offense. If owner Mark Davis leans into the status quo and keeps Champ Kelly in the front office and Antonio Pierce on the sideline, it is a good bet that they move to keep the Josh Jacobs-Zamir White combination intact.

But if there is an outside hire, that could change the dynamics. Remember, former Titans coach Mike Vrabel is on the market, and there is a chance that Henry could follow him to the Raiders or somewhere else.

There is also the chance that Henry could return to Tennessee, though that seems slim. On the last day of the season, Henry thanked Titans fans, an indication he knows he is leaving. As The Sporting News wrote on Twitter/X: “’Hopefully I was an inspiration to all the young kids.’ Derrick Henry had a message for Titans fans as he’s set to become a free agent this offseason.”

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