No question, the offense in Tampa Bay has improved in the last two weeks, putting up 37 points on Houston in Week 9 and 20 against the Titans in Week 10. But neither defense is top-tier in the NFL, and there’s still ample room for improvement–especially in the running game, which has been the subject of Buccaneers rumors all season.
Among those Buccaneers rumors was an inquiry about star back Derrick Henry and an attempt to claim Michael Carter, waived by the Jets, this week. (Carter went to Arizona in a waiver claim.)
There is good reason for all of that. The Buccaneers’ running game has had a rough go of things all year, with 703 yards on the ground total, which is 31st in the NFL. The average yards per carry, 3.1., is worst in the NFL at No. 32.
The Bucs have been attempting to get running back Rachaad White into space with short passes, and that has had some success, as White has averaged 57.0 yards per game as a receiver in the last four weeks. But the Bucs need a between-the-tackles bruiser, and there will be one on the market next offseason: Raiders star Josh Jacobs.
Josh Jacobs 2024 May Be the Perfect Buccaneers Rumor
That’s the thought behind the Buccaneers rumor proposed by one ESPN insider. This week, Fowler wrote that the Bucs should have an eye on Jacobs in 2024. Like the Bucs, Jacobs has struggled early (3.3 yards per carry) but he has gotten on track in the last two weeks.
“Josh Jacobs’ game has perked up in recent weeks, but that aforementioned average of 3.3 yards per carry could affect his bottom line,” wrote insider Jeremy Fowler. “Jacobs is still a lead back who’s perfect for a team dedicated to the run. Tampa Bay is just that and needs a decisive runner to complement Rachaad White.”
It was just three months ago that Jacobs was embroiled in a summer holdout with the team, in a quest to get a new contract done. Jacobs is one of just four running backs drafted in the first round in the last four years, so finding the right market for him (he was on his fifth-year option) was not easy.
In the end, Jacobs wound up with a modest raise for 2023 but no additional years on his contract. He is eligible for up to $12 million with incentives on his one-year deal, up from the $10.9 million he was slated to make if he had signed his option-year franchise-tag deal.
Star RBs Can Provide Good Value
Go back to last year, and Josh Jacobs’ resume is especially impressive. He ran for 1,653 yards, and became the first Raider since Marcus Allen in 1985 to lead the NFL in rushing. Jacobs also showed he was an accomplished receiver last year, with 400 receiving yards on 53 catches. All of those numbers were career highs.
But this season’s relatively poor production will weaken his value, and give the Buccaneers a better chance to land him.
At Spotrac, they’re actually predicting something of a contract reduction when the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs gets a new deal in the offseason. They’re predicting a four-year contract worth $42.8 million.
That’s below the three years and $42 million Jonathan Taylor got from the Colts after his holdout, which ran into the season, ended. Presumably, that is the kind of contract Jacobs would like, but in a league-wide depressed market for running backs, that will be tough.
That opens a door for a team with an obvious need like Tampa Bay. It’s early, but Jacobs is a good target. Get that Buccaneers rumor mill going.