They’re making a significant investment, giving Drake a two-year $11MM pact that can be worth up to $14.5MM. In a follow up tweet, Schefter reports that the $11MM is all guaranteed. Jon Gruden clearly is looking to reinvent his running game this offseason, as most of the offensive line has already been shown the door this month.
The signing, and money they committed, are somewhat surprising given the presence of 2019 first-round pick Josh Jacobs in the backfield. Jacobs had a very promising rookie season but took a step back in 2020 as the O-line struggled in run blocking and he averaged only 3.9 yards per carry. He did still have 12 touchdowns on the ground though.
As for how they’ll complement each other, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets that Gruden views “Drake as a jack-of-all-trades” who will “figure prominently in the passing game.” He also notes that Drake is close with Jacobs, which makes sense considering both went to Alabama, so don’t expect any bad blood in this timeshare.
Drake only had 25 catches for 137 yards in Arizona last year, but he was much more involved in the passing attack his last couple of years in Miami. A third-round pick of the Dolphins back in 2016, Drake showed plenty of promise but clashed with the coaching staff over his role and was eventually traded to Arizona around the 2019 trade deadline.
He caught fire in the second half of that season under Kliff Kingsbury, and expectations were sky-high in 2020. He didn’t quite meet those expectations, averaging a shrug-worthy 4.0 yards per carry and losing playing time to Chase Edmonds at times. He did still rush for 955 yards and 10 touchdowns, and the Raiders will have a very solid one-two punch at running back in 2021. Now they just need an offensive line.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.