Josh Jacobs

Raiders Place Franchise Tag On Josh Jacobs

MARCH 6: The Raiders have used the tag on Jacobs, per multiple reports. That will make him its third recipient this season, along with Daron Payne and Evan Engram. This marks the first time in 11 years that the Raiders have used the tag (safety Tyvon Branch being the latest example), and will extend the negotiating window for the two sides, as Jacobs looks to parlay his career-year into a top-end deal.

MARCH 3: The NFL’s leading rusher in 2022 was near the top of the projected running back free agent class of 2023. He will not, as it turns out, be able to test the open market, however. Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reports that the Raiders will place the franchise tag on Josh Jacobs in the absence of a long-term deal being agreed upon (Twitter link).

The news comes as little surprise, given the value Jacobs demonstrated this past season. The former first-rounder racked up 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground, posting career-highs in carries and yards per rush. 400 yards added in the passing game helped earn him a second Pro Bowl nod and a first ever All-Pro honor, and boost his free agent value considerably.

The Raiders declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option, which led to his contract status coming to this point in 2023. The running back tag for this season checks in at $10.1MM, a figure which would nearly double Jacobs’ career earnings to date. It would also allow him to remain with the Raiders for at least one more season, something he has expressed a desire to do. Like all other players, though, he has openly lamented the possibility of playing on the one-year tag in lieu of a multi-year contract.

Raiders coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler have stated a willingness to retain Jacobs, 25, despite their decision last offseason to decline his fifth-year option. That could still come in the form of a long-term deal being finalized before the March 7 tag deadline; Jacobs said at the Pro Bowl that talks on a new contract were expected to start. Progress on that front will be worth watching closely in the coming days, as the running back market will likely get thinned out.

The franchise tag is the expected outcome in the case of the Cowboys and Tony Pollard, and a distinct possibility for the Giants and Saquon Barkley. Jacobs being taken off the market would help the free agent stock for the pair of NFC East rushers, but all three RBs being tagged would have a ripple effect on free agency. Miles Sanders and David Montgomery could find themselves as the top players at the position due for a second contract, though a number of veterans – including Leonard Fournette – are set to hit the market as well.

Even if the tag ends up being used on Jacobs (which would extend the negotiating window between he and the Raiders into mid-July), Vegas would still find themselves with more financial flexibility than most other teams. The Raiders currently has more than $48MM in cap space, and a Jacobs tag would not cut too deeply into that figure. Of course, a quarterback addition of some kind would eat into the team’s available funds, though a veteran acquisition may not be in the cards this offseason. In any case, Jacobs will remain in the Silver and Black for at least one more year.

2023 NFL Franchise Tag Candidates

Set to begin its fourth decade of existence, the franchise tag remains a valuable tool for teams to keep top free agents off the market. This year’s tag window opens at 3pm CT on Feb. 21 and closes at 3pm CT on March 7. The NFL released its franchise tag figures — regarding the non-exclusive tag, at least, which will apply to all but one possible tag recipient — earlier this month, and teams are busy budgeting for free agency.

The legal tampering period opens March 13, with the new league year (and official free agency) starting March 15. Once a player is tagged, he has until July 15 to sign an extension with his respective team. Absent an extension agreement by that date, the player must play the 2023 season on the tag (or go the Le’Veon Bell/Dan Williams/Sean Gilbert route, passing on guaranteed money and skipping the season).

With high-profile free agents weeks away from hitting the market, here are the players who figure to be tagged or at least generate conversations about a tag ahead of the March 7 deadline.


Lamar Jackson, QB (Ravens)

One of the most obvious tag candidates since the tag’s 1993 debut, Jackson has been extension-eligible since January 2021. He and the Ravens went through negotiations in 2021 and 2022, negotiating into the season two years ago and stopping talks before Week 1 — a Jackson mandate — of last season. The self-represented quarterback has declined multiple Ravens offers in this span and failed to finish a season for the second straight year. The endless extension drama and rumblings of team frustration about Jackson’s failure to return from an ankle injury aside, the team will tag the former MVP.

Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta said last month he had not decided on using the exclusive or non-exclusive tag — the former preventing teams from talking to the QB, the latter opening the door to offer sheets — but a recent report suggested the team is more likely to roll the dice by using the non-exclusive tag. This would allow another team to sign to Jackson, 25, to the fully guaranteed deal he covets (in a transaction that could send two first-round picks Baltimore’s way) but also hit the Ravens with just a $32.4MM cap hit.

With the Browns collecting three first-rounders and change for Deshaun Watson, the Ravens would almost definitely want more than the two-first-rounder haul attached as baseline compensation for franchise tag offer sheets. But an exclusive QB tag is expected to check in beyond $45MM; this would severely restrict the Ravens in free agency.

The Browns’ Watson extension changed the game for the Ravens, creating a potentially unbridgeable guarantee gap. Jackson has long been connected to seeking a deal north of Watson’s $230MM fully guaranteed; the Ravens offered $133MM guaranteed at signing last year. Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti spoke out against the Browns giving Watson that money, and tag-and-trade scenarios involving the top quarterback in Ravens history have entered the equation. It will be a fascinating offseason in Baltimore, even after DeCosta and John Harbaugh expressed hope Jackson can be extended.

Likely tag recipients

Orlando Brown Jr., T (Chiefs)

Criticized by some for turning down the Chiefs’ six-year, $139MM extension offer in July 2022, Brown stayed healthy this season and earned another Pro Bowl nod. The mammoth left tackle is 2-for-2 in Pro Bowls as a Chief, and although he is not quite a top-tier blindsider, he would be one of this year’s top free agents if permitted to hit the market. The Super Bowl champions are not expected to let that happen. A second Brown tag would come in at $19.99MM, being 120% of his 2022 salary.

Brown, 26, cited insufficient guarantees in the Chiefs’ July proposal, which contained $38MM guaranteed at signing and $52.25MM guaranteed in total. The total guarantee figure trailed only ex-Ravens teammate Ronnie Stanley among tackles, while the full guarantee would have placed Brown fourth at the position. Brown turning down that proposal brought risk, and some in the Chiefs organization expressed frustration with the talented blocker. But the former Ravens right tackle’s bet on himself still appears to be paying off. This will be a crucial offseason for the Chiefs and Brown. A third tag — 144% of Brown’s 2023 salary — in 2024 would be viewed as untenable, sending him to free agency on the Kirk Cousins/Trumaine Johnson path. That makes July 15 a fairly firm deadline for Brown and the Chiefs.

Josh Jacobs, RB (Raiders)

After Las Vegas’ new regime passed on Jacobs’ fifth-year option, he became the first Raider to win the rushing title since Marcus Allen in 1985. Jacobs led the NFL in touches in 2022 (393) but was never a primary ball-carrier at Alabama; the former first-round pick should still have some tread on his tires. Running back extensions have become popular but divisive in recent years. While Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and (for now) Ezekiel Elliott are attached to deals worth at least $15MM per year, the Raiders can tag Jacobs at just $10.1MM.

Jacobs, 24, has expressed a desire to stay in Nevada, and Josh McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler want to continue this partnership as well. With many quality running backs on track for free agency, new deals could be finalized before the Raiders become serious about Jacobs negotiations. Whether that happens this year or not, the former first-round pick is unlikely to reach the market.

Daron Payne, DT (Commanders)

After early-offseason extension rumblings, the Commanders did not move too far in this direction last year. They re-upped Terry McLaurin and let Payne play out a contract year. But Payne turned 2022 into a platform campaign that stands to make him one of this year’s top free agents. The Commanders are soon to have $26MM in additional cap space, by moving on from Carson Wentz, and the team will likely give strong consideration to keeping Payne off the market. The defensive tackle tag costs $18.94MM. Washington has begun Payne talks, but those are still in the early stages.

Washington has some mouths to feed on its defensive line, with both Montez Sweat and Chase Young now extension-eligible. The team already paid Payne’s Alabama and Washington D-tackle teammate, Jonathan Allen, and drafted another Crimson Tide interior rusher (Phidarian Mathis) in Round 2 last year. Mathis went down in Week 1, and Payne broke through for an 11.5-sack, 18-TFL season. A tag here is not an open-and-shut tag case, but it would be a tough blow for the Commanders to see their sack leader walk. Regrouping with Payne, 25, would make more sense, especially with the team not preparing to spend big at quarterback this offseason.

Tony Pollard, RB (Cowboys)

Seeming likelier by the week, a Pollard tag would keep an emerging playmaker with a light career workload in the fold. The Cowboys are believed to be strongly considering a tag here, even with Ezekiel Elliott‘s bloated contract on the books. Elliott taking less to stay — it would need to be a lot less — has already been floated, opening the door for his better-performing (in recent years, at least) backup to stick around on the $10.1MM number or via an extension.

It would be strange to tag a backup, but Pollard, 25, is essentially a Dallas starter. He matched Elliott with 12 touchdowns in 2022 and smashed his career-high scrimmage yards number with 1,378. Pollard’s 631 career touches rank just 24th among backs since 2019, pointing to a few prime years remaining on the horizon. With Elliott’s cap number near certain to move down from its present $16.7MM place and Pollard not at risk of seeing his fractured fibula affect his 2023 availability, the former fourth-round find should be back in Dallas.

The Giants’ decision

Daniel Jones, QB

Passing on Jones’ fifth-year option — an understandable decision, given Jones’ first three seasons — leads the Giants to one of the more interesting free agency quandaries in recent memory. After making Saquon Barkley a higher priority regarding in-season extension talks, Big Blue’s new regime has come around on Jones. The former No. 6 overall pick piloting the Giants to the divisional round for the first time in 11 years transformed his value from where it was entering the season, and GM Joe Schoen all but assured the fifth-year passer will be back with the team in 2023. Will that be on a long-term deal or via the tag?

If the Giants and Jones, 25, cannot find common ground before March 7, the tag will likely come out. The team encountered this situation with Leonard Williams in 2021 and tagged the trade acquisition for a second time. That preceded a monster extension. The Giants probably should be careful here, with two late-season matchups against a porous Vikings defense boosting Jones’ value — to the $35MM-per-year range. But the team also should be eager to see Jones in Brian Daboll‘s offense and surrounded by better pass catchers.

Saquon Barkley, RB

A Giants team that battled injuries and bad investments at wide receiver relied on Barkley for much of 2022. Losing the two-time Pro Bowler for nothing will bring considerable risk. Jones sitting atop the Giants’ to-do list may be a pivot from the midseason point, when Schoen referenced a Barkley tag. A positional value-based course change could send Barkley to free agency.

The Giants are believed to have offered Barkley a deal in the $12.5MM-per-year neighborhood, and while the former No. 2 overall pick cited his injury history (21 missed games from 2019-21) in saying he is not looking to reset the running back market, Schoen noted the sides’ 2022 negotiation did not come close to a deal. Barkley, 25, is believed to be seeking a contract near McCaffrey’s $16MM-per-year market-setting price. A $14MM-AAV compromise could be in play, but Barkley may also be keen on testing the market.

Tagging Jones at $32.4MM would clog the Giants’ cap ahead of free agency, whereas as a Barkley tag ($10.1MM) would not drain the team’s funds on the same level. Barkley can make a case he is worthy of the McCaffrey-Kamara tier, given his production (when healthy) and versatility — and the salary cap jumping nearly $30MM (to $224.8MM) since those stars’ 2020 extensions were finalized. But the Giants are not yet prepared to go much higher than the $12MM-AAV range — the second tier for running backs. Jones talks not producing a deal would put the Giants to a decision; Barkley could become one of the most talented backs to hit free agency.

While Barkley is a better player, Jones has become the Giants’ top priority. Tagging the quarterback would be far more expensive than cuffing Barkley. A Jones extension/Barkley tag scenario remains the best Giants path, but that can only come to fruition if Jones agrees to terms before March 7.

On tag radar

Jessie Bates, S (Bengals)

With Joe Burrow now extension-eligible, new contractual territory awaits the Bengals. Tee Higgins is also eligible for a new deal, with Germaine Pratt weeks away from free agency. Vonn Bell, a three-year Bengals starter who is also nearing free agency, would be a cheaper alternative at safety to keeping Bates on a second tag. Cincinnati also drafted potential Bates heir apparent Dax Hill in the first round. This all points to the Bengals letting Bates walk — as they did defenders Carl Lawson and William Jackson in 2021 — but the former second-round pick is still one of the league’s top safeties.

The Bengals and Bates never came close on an extension last year; the team’s conservative guarantee policy led to an offer of $16MM guaranteed at signing. While player personnel director Duke Tobin said last summer renegotiations this year will not be off the table, Bates will likely hit the market. The five-year Cincinnati starter, who will turn 26 next week, can be re-tagged at $15.5MM.

Jamel Dean, CB (Buccaneers)

The Bucs tagged Chris Godwin in each of the past two years and prioritized retaining their core players above all else during that span. But, with Tom Brady‘s void-years money hitting the Bucs’ cap in 2023, a Dean tag will be difficult to pull off. The Saints moving from $75MM-plus over the cap in February 2021 to creating room for a Marcus Williams tag, however, shows how teams can go from cap hell to carving out tag space. That said, Brady’s $35.1MM hitting the cap pushes the Bucs past $50MM over the 2023 salary ceiling.

Dean, 26, has been one of the team’s top players. The former third-round pick grades as Pro Football Focus’ No. 11 overall cornerback from 2020-22. This still looks like an unlikely proposition, with the corner tag at $18.14MM, but it should not be considered completely off the table.

Evan Engram, TE (Jaguars)

Tight ends Mike Gesicki, David Njoku and Dalton Schultz received tags in 2022, and the tight end tag again checking in as the third-cheapest ($11.36MM) this year makes the Jaguars keeping Engram off the market a logical step. The former Giants first-round pick broke through on his one-year Jags pact, filling a longstanding void for the franchise. Engram’s 766 receiving yards set a Jacksonville single-season tight end record. With mutual interest believed to exist, a tag as a bridge to a summer extension — ahead of Engram’s age-29 season — is a scenario to watch here.

C.J. Gardner-Johnson, S (Eagles)

The Eagles traded two Day 3 draft picks for Gardner-Johnson and moved him from corner to safety. After the ex-Saints slot defender led the NFL in interceptions, he will be in line for a payday. New Orleans and Gardner-Johnson, 25, could not come to terms last summer, leading to the trade, but Philadelphia wants to retain the imported DB. The Bengals kept Bates off the market last year with the safety tag, which checks in at $14.46MM this year. Given the volume of defenders the NFC champions have set for free agency, this looks like a longer-odds scenario.

Dre’Mont Jones, DL (Broncos)

Jones’ statistical production would not be in line with a tag. The talented defensive lineman has yet to surpass 6.5 sacks or 11 quarterback hits in a season, but the former third-round pick has offered consistency and earned praise from the front office. Following the Broncos’ decision to trade Bradley Chubb, GM George Paton identified Jones as a player the team wanted to keep. The advanced metrics also view Jones fondly; Pro Football Focus charts the former third-round pick in the top 20 for pressures since 2019. Jones is believed to be a higher priority compared to guard Dalton Risner, a fellow Denver free agent-to-be.

Sean Payton‘s team using a $19MM tag on a non-Pro Bowler would be risky during an offseason in which the draft capital-poor team — thanks to the Payton trade requiring a 2023 first-round pick — faces a key free agency stretch. Jones, 26, sticking around should also depend on whom the Broncos hire as defensive coordinator.

Jordan Poyer, S (Bills)

Buffalo defensive stalwarts Poyer and Tremaine Edmunds are ticketed for free agency, but with the NFL still grouping rush- and non-rush linebackers together under its tag formula, Edmunds is not a realistic tag candidate. The linebacker tag ($20.9MM) trails only the QB price. Poyer, 31, is coming off his first Pro Bowl season and has been one of the Bills’ steadiest players in the Sean McDermott era. Signed during McDermott’s first offseason, Poyer has inked two Bills contracts. He angled for a third, eventually agreeing to an incentive package, and became indispensable during a season in which the Bills lost Micah Hyde to a September neck injury and saw Damar Hamlin face one of the scariest health issues in NFL history in January.

Hamlin aims to return, while Hyde is under contract. But a Bills defense that has seen inconsistency at corner for years could still use Poyer. If the parties cannot strike a deal before March 7, the $14.5MM safety tag may not be too steep here. That said, the Bills may try to avoid a tag and save some free agency dough for Edmunds.

Geno Smith, QB (Seahawks)

A $32.4MM quarterback tag does sound too steep for Smith, his Comeback Player of the Year award notwithstanding. The Seahawks traded Russell Wilson on March 8, 2022; they re-signed Smith to a one-year, $3.5MM deal on April 14. That low-cost, incentive-laden accord effectively illustrated the NFL’s view of the former second-rounder. While Smith’s stunning season upped his value tremendously, it still seems unlikely the franchise tag will come into play. A transition tag — worth $29.5MM and involving no draft compensation — would be a more logical move.

But the top tag has been floated as a Smith-Seattle scenario. The sides have begun negotiations, and Smith’s camp figures to factor the tag salaries into the talks. This process still feels like it will end in a Smith medium-term deal. But after a 30-touchdown pass season that also included an NFL-high 69.8% completion rate, the 32-year-old passer setting a high price as the tag deadline nears would force the team to consider cuffing its starter.

Latest On Raiders, Josh Jacobs

The biggest storyline surrounding the Raiders at the moment is the future of outgoing quarterback Derek Carr. Another key member of their offense also faces the possibility of playing elsewhere, despite the mutual interest which exists to keep him in Las Vegas.

Running back Josh Jacobs is a pending free agent, but he made it clear last month that he would be in favor of a new contract allowing him to remain with the Raiders. When asked at the Pro Bowl weekend about upcoming negotiations with the team, the 24-year-old said he expected them to begin in the coming days (Twitter link via Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal).

The former first-rounder is due for a new contract since the Raiders declined his fifth-year option last offseason. That move added to the financial pressures of the 2022 campaign from Jacobs’ perspective, and he responded in emphatic fashion. The Alabama product led the league in rushing and scrimmage yards, setting new career-highs across the board. That leaves him feeling comfortable with respect to contract talks.

“I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat,” Jacobs said, via Tashan Reed of The Athletic (subscription required). “I control the ship. However it goes, that’s how it’s going to go, you know what I’m saying? So, I’m not too much worried about it, but it’s definitely got to make sense.”

Jacobs played himself into a considerable raise this year, but his market value could shift in the near future depending on how other high-end backs set to hit free agency fare. The possibility of a franchise tag (valued at $10.1MM or an estimated $16.5MM, depending on if the team uses the non-exclusive or exclusive tag) looms, something which Jacobs unsurprisingly lamented. Nevertheless, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline reports that a tag is the expected outcome of this situation.

Jacobs also cited the uncertainty Vegas is currently dealing with at the quarterback position as something to consider in his own negotiations. With Carr set to be either traded or released before the upcoming deadline brought on by the guarantee trigger in his contract, the Raiders will be searching for a new signal-caller this offseason. A change at that position will come with, presumably, several other moves aimed at upgrading what was a 6-11 team in 2022.

“Like I’ve been saying all last year, I feel like we were always so close,” Jacobs added. “That really just comes with [the front office] getting the right people in there and getting some more guys on defense and getting some more guys up front. And obviously, now the quarterback situation. I think that plays a big part of what I want to do, too, if I come back or not. It just depends.”

Josh Jacobs Wants To Re-Sign With Raiders

Josh Jacobs went from seeing the Raiders decline his fifth-year option to winning the rushing title. No Raider had previously secured that crown since Marcus Allen in 1985. Following the accomplishment, Jacobs said he would like to stay in Las Vegas.

The former first-round pick, naturally, indicated he will not come cheap. That should be expected after a 1,653-yard rushing season, but the Alabama alum would prefer his second contract come from the Raiders.

For me, it’s got to make sense,” Jacobs said (via’s Paul Gutierrez) on the financial component of a new deal. “But this is obviously where I want to be. Coming in, I remember sitting down with Maxx [Crosby] and all these guys and talking about the Raiders organization and the culture and wanting to be part of the change. I still feel that way so, hopefully, I’ll be back.”

Also amassing a career-high 400 receiving yards, Jacobs paced the NFL in yards from scrimmage (2,053) as well. The former No. 24 overall pick also stayed healthy throughout his contract year, setting him up for a payday. Jacobs is still just 24. Although Jacobs handled an NFL-high 393 touches this season, he can factor in his age and a light college workload (251 handoffs) as selling points for prospective longevity. But free agency should not be expected to be in the cards.

The running back franchise tag is expected to come in just north of $10MM — likely a palatable price for teams with top-shelf backs on the cusp of hitting the market. Jacobs and Saquon Barkley represent prime tag candidates, giving their respective teams time to work out extensions ahead of the July 15 deadline. But the Raiders, despite passing on Jacobs’ fifth-year option, want to keep their running back find on a second contract.

Obviously J.J.’s performance was a huge bright spot for us,” Josh McDaniels said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him as a person and as a player and he kind of embodies all the things that we want a Raider to be. Dave [Ziegler] and I have talked about that; J.J. and I have had private conversations about those kinds of things. I think all that will play out in due time. But love him and would love to have him continue to be a Raider.”

Jacobs finished with six 100-yard rushing games — including a 229-yard outing in Seattle in which he totaled 303 scrimmage yards to rank in the top 10 all time for a single game — in his fourth NFL season. Although Derek Carr looks to be on the move, the Raiders would prefer to pair Jacobs and Davante Adams with their next quarterback. It will be interesting to see if Jacobs pushes for a top-market deal — the $15MM range — or settles for the roughly $12MM-AAV pact five other backs have since 2020. With the cap expected to rise from $208MM toward the $225MM mark, it should be expected Jacobs pushes for the market’s top stratum.

Raiders Expected To Retain Josh Jacobs; Latest On Davante Adams, Derek Carr

After the Raiders’ previous regime made some missteps in recent first rounds, the Josh McDanielsDave Ziegler duo passed on all three of the team’s fifth-year options for 2023. Josh Jacobs was the most surprising such move, but he turned his contract year into a statement season.

Jacobs leads the NFL with 1,608 rushing yards and tops the league in yards from scrimmage (2,003); he is pushing to join Marcus Allen as the only Raiders to claim rushing titles. Allen’s top season, for which he was awarded MVP honors, came in 1985. While Jacobs might not quite break Allen’s single-season team records for either rushing yards (1,759) or scrimmage yards (2,314), he is unlikely to leave Las Vegas in 2023.

The Raiders are expected to retain Jacobs — either via a long-term contract or the franchise tag — rather than letting him hit free agency, Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Jacobs joins a crowded cast of starter-caliber running backs eligible for free agency in March, but his 2022 season has enhanced his value considerably.

Considering the running back tag is only expected to come in at around $10MM, that becomes a valuable tool for the Raiders regarding Jacobs. The team can cuff the breakthrough back with the tag and either work out an extension before the July 15 deadline or see if 2022 was a fluke before coming back to the table in 2024. The Giants are likely to proceed this way with Saquon Barkley. After entering the season on an uncertain path — one that included a short stretch of trade rumors — the Alabama alum looks like he will remain in place as a cornerstone Raider.

The Raiders took Jacobs 24th overall, selecting him with the pick obtained in the 2018 Khalil Mack trade. Jacobs has logged a career-high (by far) 323 carries this season but has also stayed healthy, playing in all 16 Raiders games. That is a first, as minor injuries nagged him from 2019-21. Jacobs has totaled 1,055 carries as a pro, but his light college workload (251 totes in three seasons) will likely come into play during extension talks. The 24-year-old back presents a case to offer staying power and collect a nice payday. Eight running backs are tied to deals averaging at least $12MM per year. With those $12MM-AAV pacts all signed during either the 2020 or ’21 offseasons, Jacobs will have a case to check in beyond that given the cap’s expected bump past $220MM.

Las Vegas is coming off an eventful week, having effectively separated from Derek Carr. The Raiders benched the nine-year starter for Jarrett Stidham, who had never started a game in four seasons, and Carr is now away from the team. Trade options to move a $40.4MM guarantee off the books will be explored, and Bonsignore adds the team’s new regime had determined Carr was a poor fit early in the season. Long lukewarm on Carr, Mark Davis gave Ziegler and McDaniels freedom to proceed as they saw fit with the former second-round pick.

Carr’s durability notwithstanding, Albert Breer of notes the Raiders did not believe the veteran quarterback was doing enough to push the ball downfield. They viewed toughness as an issue, per Breer, who adds accountability became another concern for the team. There should be a market for Carr, who would be an upgrade for many teams, but Bonsignore notes the Raiders will cut him — on a dead-money charge of just $5.6MM, thanks to the uniquely structured contract — rather than bring him back and wait for a trade to materialize later. Unless Carr and the Raiders agree to move the guarantee vesting date back from Feb. 15, it appears a near-certainty the longest-tenured QB1 in team history will be gone within the next six weeks.

Davante Adams expressed disappointment with the team’s decision to bench his former college teammate; the duo’s friendship led Adams to seek a trade to Las Vegas. But Adams should not be expected to ask for a trade out of Nevada because Carr is on his way out, Bonsignore adds. Although it would be strange to see Adams remain a Raider but Carr gone, the team has the All-Pro wideout under contract through 2026. The Raiders, however, will likely keep Adams in the loop and are open to appeasing him via trade if their next QB plan does not meet his expectations.

Last season’s playoff berth aside, the new Raiders regime did not view this as a team set to contend in the long term, per Bonsignore. The McDaniels-Ziegler operation has indeed brought a regression, but Davis assured McDaniels will return next season. Following either a six- or seven-win 2022 season, the Raiders will be set for an interesting 2023 — one that will likely feature a host of McDaniels-Tom Brady reunion rumors.

RB Notes: Jacobs, Patriots, Steelers, Hill

Coming off just the NFL’s 11th performance with 300 yards from scrimmage, Josh Jacobs is not expected to practice much this week. The Raiders running back suffered a calf strain during his monster outing against the Seahawks, Tom Pelissero of tweets. Planning to go through “around the clock” treatment, Jacobs said (via The Athletic’s Tashan Reed, on Twitter) he is not planning to miss any time.

Of course, that expectation will be tested. Calf strains can sideline players for multiple weeks. Jacobs handled a career-high 39 touches in Las Vegas’ overtime win in Seattle, finishing with 303 scrimmage yards. He now leads the league in rushing (1,159 yards) and is making a strong case for a second Raiders contract, despite the team having passed on his fifth-year option. The Alabama alum has stayed relatively healthy during his career, having never missed more than three games in a season. But missing time due to this calf ailment would give Jacobs at least one absence in each of his four seasons.

Here is the latest from the running back scene:

  • The Patriots are not expected to have Damien Harris available against the Bills on Thursday. Harris left the Pats’ Thanksgiving Day game with a thigh injury, and’s Ian Rapoport notes (via Twitter) that issue will keep him out in Week 13 and potentially for more games. One of several starter-caliber backs set to hit free agency in March, Harris has battled multiple injuries this season and seen Rhamondre Stevenson emerge as New England’s primary back. This certainly points to the former third-round pick needing to find another team to dole out his second contract.
  • Najee Harris also left his team’s most recent game due to injury, seeing an abdominal issue force him to leave the Steelers‘ Monday-night win over the Colts. Harris avoided a major injury, however, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). It is not certain the second-year back plays Sunday, but after he battled a Lisfranc issue this offseason, dodging another notable injury represents a nice break. The Steelers were without rookie backup Jaylen Warren in Indianapolis due to a hamstring injury and used veteran Benny Snell as their top ball-carrier.
  • The Commanders worked out a familiar NFC East back this week, bringing in Jordan Howard. The well-traveled back stopped through Washington for a Tuesday workout, Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 tweets. Former Panthers backup Reggie Bonnafon also took part in this audition. Howard spent time with the Saints this season, playing in two games, but New Orleans released the ex-Chicago and Philadelphia starter from its practice squad earlier this month.
  • Despite using one of their injury activations on Kylin Hill this year, the Packers cut bait recently. Matt LaFleur said conduct contributed to the transaction. “There are standards and expectations that are placed on every member of this team that we expect guys to live up to,” LaFleur said, via Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk. “He’s a guy we had high expectations for, and [I] realize he’s in a loaded room, but regardless of your role big or small, we expect guys to come to work and be supportive and own that role to the best of your ability. If you don’t do that, that’s what happened.” This certainly points to the second-year back voicing dissatisfaction with being behind Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon on Green Bay’s depth chart. No team claimed Hill, who is now a free agent.

AFC Injury Updates: Bills, Raiders, Leonard

As the Bills head to South Florida for a noon matchup against a red-hot Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins, they have seen a tough challenge get tougher. Buffalo released an injury update on its website today reporting that the team expects to be without four starters: two in the secondary, in safety Micah Hyde and cornerback Dane Jackson, and two defensive tackles, Ed Oliver and Jordan Phillips. Jackson, Hyde, and Phillips all left Monday night’s game with injuries, while Oliver will miss his second straight contest.

Jackson left the game last week after a collision that forced his head backwards in a scary-looking neck injury. He was taken off the field in an ambulance, but, luckily, avoided any major injury. Unfortunately, Jackson hasn’t been able to practice at all this week but has been able to be around the team at the facilities.

Hyde also suffered a neck injury, albeit a far less severe-looking injury than Jackson’s, that held him out of practice this week. Phillips left the game Monday with a hamstring injury and also was unable to practice this week. Oliver has been dealing with an ankle injury that held him out last week, as well.

Missing three starters in the secondary (cornerback Tre’Davious White remains on injured reserve) makes the prospect of facing Tagovailoa a bit more cumbersome one week after he threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns against a banged up Ravens secondary. They’ll turn to rookies Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam to fill in at cornerback with help from veteran Bills cornerbacks Taron Johnson and Siran Neal. Damar Hamlin and Jaquan Johnson will be asked to step up in Hyde’s absence, as well.

With both Phillips and Oliver out on the defensive line, it’s a good bet that the Bills will mirror their gameday practice squad call-ups from last week in defensive tackles C.J. Brewer and Brandin Bryant.

Here are a few more Sunday injury statuses we learned about today, starting with a couple of big starters out in Sin City:

  • The Raiders are set to face off against the Titans this weekend without two Pro Bowlers as wide receiver Hunter Renfrow and linebacker Denzel Perryman are officially out, according to Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Hill also reports that, after missing two practices with an illness, running back Josh Jacobs is questionable to play this Sunday.
  • Despite initial reports in the preseason that Colts star linebacker Shaquille Leonard would not miss any time, the 27-year-old is set to miss his third straight game after being ruled out against the Chiefs this week, according to Mike Chappell of Indianapolis Fox59. Head coach Frank Reich told the media, “Deep down it’s the player. Deep down the player has to know he can play winning football and help this team win. That’s where we’ve got to get to.”

Raiders Not Shopping RB Josh Jacobs?

AUGUST 8: McDaniels attempted to squash any Jacobs trade rumors Monday, indicating (via the Fresno Bee’s Anthony Galaviz, on Twitter) the Raiders have “no desire” to trade the running back “at all.” The first-year Las Vegas HC said the team has “a lot of confidence” in Jacobs. It is not too uncommon to see players traded after coach or GM declarations of this sort, but McDaniels made a similar pronouncement about Carr not being on the trade block. No Jacobs extension may be on tap, but this could quiet trade speculation for a bit.

AUGUST 7: While high-profile teammates like Derek Carr and Davante Adams did not participate in Thursday night’s Hall of Fame game, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs got a considerable amount of playing time. Combined with Las Vegas’ decision to decline Jacobs’ fifth-year option earlier this year and recent reports suggesting that 2022 would be his last season in the Silver and Black, HC Josh McDaniels‘ deployment of his presumptive RB1 led some to wonder whether Jacobs was being showcased for a potential trade.

According to Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, there has been no indication that the Raiders are interested in trading Jacobs. Instead, when asked why Jacobs saw so much action in a game that generally features few, if any, established starters for even a brief period of time, McDaniels said, “I always think it’s good for backs to carry the ball in preseason.”

Indeed, Jacobs’ primary backup, Kenyan Drake, got an extended look as well, and Brandon Bolden was the only veteran back who did not see the field. Per McDaniels, “There are a lot of things that happen when you’re tackled and getting hit that you can’t simulate in practice. All our guys either caught it or were handed the ball and got tackled. We can’t really simulate or rep that in practice.”

Even if Jacobs suits up for another club in 2023, the Raiders have playoff aspirations this year, and it makes sense that McDaniels would want him to continue building the positive momentum that he has generated in the early days of training camp (Bonsignore writes that Jacobs has had a “dazzling” start to camp after reporting to the club in terrific shape). Plus, a 2023 departure will likely result in a compensatory draft pick anyway.

Thanks in large part to a suspect and injury-plagued O-line, Las Vegas’ running game was among the league’s least productive in 2021. The club did not do much to improve its blocking this offseason, so unless linemen like Alex Leatherwood and rookie Dylan Parham step up in a big way, the Raiders will be counting on Jacobs & Co. to carve out their own space. A potentially prolific passing attack may also give the team’s backs some breathing room.

Bonsignore does believe that, as a result of their RB depth, the Raiders will trade or release an NFL-caliber rusher sometime before Week 1. In his estimation, Jacobs will not be the one on the move, although Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes Jacobs’ usage in the HOF game was indeed a sign that the 2020 Pro Bowler is available, and ESPN’s Matt Miller feels the same way (Twitter link).

Raiders Rumors: Offensive Line, WRs, Jacobs

We recently wrote about the unlikelihood that any rookies will be starting for the Raiders to start the 2022 NFL season. The player we gave the best odds of earning a starting role is maybe even better set up for taking the job than we thought, according to Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed at The Athletic. The two reported that, besides left tackle Kolton Miller and right guard Denzelle Good, the other three offensive line jobs are up for grabs.

We had given Andre James the assumption of starting at center after a successful season at the position last year. We also didn’t grant Good an automatic spot as he is recovering from a torn ACL that held him out for all but 18 snaps of last season. But Tafur and Reed assert that rookie third-round pick Dylan Parham “could push John Simpson at left guard and (James) at center.”

They also believe that Alex Leatherwood doesn’t quite have the right tackle job in the bag. He’s being pushed by Brandon Parker, who started 13 games at the position last year, while Leatherwood occupied a guard spot.

Here are a few more rumors from Sin City:

  • The addition of star wide receiver Davante Adams provides an obvious No. 1 weapon for quarterback Derek Carr. Carr will have Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller to target in the slot and at tight end, respectively, but who will be out wide opposite Adams? That role will be a battle between free agent additions Mack Hollins, Keelan Cole, and Demarcus Robinson. According to Tafur and Reed, the former Dolphins wide receiver, Hollins, should be considered the favorite. Though he hasn’t quite shown the necessary production (his best season came last year with 14 catches for 223 yards and 4 touchdowns), Hollins has a large, 6’4″ frame and speed that can make him an effective weapon while defenses focus on Adams, Waller, and Renfrow. Cole has shown more consistent production during tenures in Jacksonville and New York, as has Robinson in Kansas City, but neither quite has the physical tools that Hollins displays. If Hollins can take the next step and make the most of his abilities, Cole and Robinson can be strong assets off the bench behind a starting three of Adams, Renfrow, and Hollins.
  • Las Vegas didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on running back Josh Jacobs rookie contract this offseason as a result of some of the injury trouble he’s experienced in the NFL. In total, Jacobs has only missed six games throughout his three years of play, but his struggle to stay healthy has limited him in many other games. Due to health, Tafur and Reed see this as Jacobs’ last year on the team. Their opinion is also backed by the draft addition of Georgia running back Zamir White, once considered the top recruit at his position in high school. While the team won’t put too much on White as a rookie, The Athletic guesses that the Raiders will utilize a running back by committee approach. Vegas will lean on Jacobs to lead, as the most talented, while attempting to bring White along and up to NFL-speed. Career third-down back Brandon Bolden and backup Kenyan Drake will continue their usual roles as the Raiders allegedly groom White to start.

2023 NFL Fifth-Year Option Results

Monday marked the deadline for NFL clubs to officially pick up their options on 2019 first-rounders. Fifth-year option seasons are no longer just guaranteed for injury — they’re now fully guaranteed, which makes these decisions a little tougher for teams.

Nineteen players had their options exercised, a tick up from 14 last year. Here’s the full rundown:

1. QB Kyler Murray, Cardinals – Exercised ($29.7MM)
2. DE Nick Bosa, 49ers: Exercised ($17.9MM)
3. DE Quinnen Williams, Jets: Exercised ($11.5MM)
4. DE Clelin Ferrell, Raiders: Declined ($11.5MM)
5. LB Devin White, Buccaneers: Exercised ($11.7MM)
6. QB Daniel Jones, Giants: Declined ($22.4MM)
7. DE Josh Allen, Jaguars: Exercised ($11.5MM)
8. TE T.J. Hockenson, Lions: Exercised ($9.4MM)
9. DT Ed Oliver, Bills: Exercised ($10.8MM)
10. LB Devin Bush, Steelers: Declined ($10.9MM)
11. OT Jonah Williams, Bengals: Exercised ($12.6MM)
12. LB Rashan Gary, Packers: Exercised ($10.9MM)
13. DT Christian Wilkins, Dolphins: Exercised ($10.8MM)
14. G Chris Lindstrom, Falcons: Exercised ($13.2MM)
15. QB Dwayne Haskins:
16. DE Brian Burns, Panthers: Exercised ($16MM)
17. DT Dexter Lawrence, Giants: Exercised ($10.8MM)
18. C Garrett Bradbury, Vikings: Declined ($13.2MM)
19. DT Jeffery Simmons, Titans: Exercised ($10.8MM)
20. TE Noah Fant, Seahawks: Exercised ($6.9MM; originally drafted by Broncos)
21. S Darnell Savage, Packers: Exercised ($7.9MM)
22. OT Andre Dillard, Eagles: Declined ($12.6MM)
23. OT Tytus Howard, Texans: Exercised ($13.2MM)
24. RB Josh Jacobs, Raiders: Declined ($8MM)
25. WR Marquise Brown, Cardinals: ($13.4MM; originally drafted by Ravens)
26. DE Montez Sweat, Commanders: Exercised ($11.5MM)
27. S Johnathan Abram, Raiders: Declined ($7.9MM)
28. DE Jerry Tillery, Chargers: Declined ($11.5MM)
29. DE L.J. Collier, Seahawks: Declined ($11.5MM)
30. CB Deandre Baker — N/A (released by Giants)
31. OT Kaleb McGary, Falcons: Declined ($13.2MM)
32. WR N’Keal Harry, Patriots: Declined ($12.4MM)