One of the central figures in the running back franchise tag situation last offseason, Josh Jacobs was unable to work out a multi-year agreement with the Raiders. The parties landed on a one-year compromise, but they now face a similar set of circumstances.
Jacobs is a pending free agent, something with less lucrative implications for running backs than many other positions. The 2022 rushing champion is set to negotiate with new power brokers compared to last offseason, given the dismissal of Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels and their replacement with Antonio Pierce and Tom Telesco. Ziegler expressed a desire to re-engage in talks in 2024, and that sentiment appears to exist with the new regime.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports the Raiders are interested in exploring a Jacobs deal, though he cautions the team is prepared to do so “depending on the price.” Jacobs missed the final four games of the season, but he remained a key member of the team’s offense when on the field. He received 20 or more carries on five occasions in 2023, garnering added attention after Pierce took over as interim head coach.
As Fowler notes, Jacobs was a talking point while Pierce and the Raiders were conducting their offensive coordinator search. That process resulted in Luke Getsy being tapped for the role. His time in Chicago saw him oversee a run-based attack, and having Jacobs in the fold would give the Raiders’ ground game valuable stability. The Alabama alum will be 26 by the start of next season, and he has logged at least 217 carries in each of his five NFL seasons.
Jacobs’ workload could be a factor working against his market value, coupled with the overall landscape of the RB position. Fellow veterans Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, Austin Ekeler and Tony Pollard are among the backs set to hit the open market next month. Jacobs averaged a career-high 4.9 yards per carry in 2022, but that figure dropped to 3.5 this season. He finished with 805 rushing yards and six touchdowns, matching the yards-per-rush mark as the lowest totals of his career.
The franchise tag is projected to cost roughly $12.4MM for running backs this season, but a second Jacobs tag would cost 120% of his 2023 earnings. Vegas would thus be required to spend at least $14.16MM on the two-time Pro Bowler, a figure which would likely outweigh his value on a multi-year agreement with the Raiders or an outside team. Coming off a down season in 2023, his market will be worth watching closely as the team contemplates its first offseason with new faces on the sidelines and in the front office.