Josh Jacobs

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)

Raiders Decline Fifth-Year Options On Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abram, Clelin Ferrell

The Raiders trading previous cornerstones Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper gave them a prime opportunity in the 2019 draft. Three years later, each of the first-round picks from that draft will enter a contract year.

New Raiders GM Dave Ziegler confirmed Friday the team is declining the fifth-year options on Josh Jacobs, Johnathan Abram and Clelin Ferrell. All are on track for free agency in 2023. Although the Raiders’ Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime hit on Day 3 picks Maxx Crosby and Hunter Renfrow, their 2019 offseason — which featured misses on Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, Lamarcus Joyner and Tyrell Williams — contributed to the franchise’s change of direction.

Mack’s departure did the most to hurt the 2018 squad, which finished with a staggering 13 sacks. That led to the Raiders’ own 2019 first-rounder coming in at No. 4 overall. Ferrell, viewed as a reach at 4 when taken, has not panned out. The Clemson product has eight sacks in three seasons, and one-and-done defensive coordinator Gus Bradley slashed the defensive end’s snap rate to 24% in 2021.

Jacobs, the pick obtained via the Mack trade, has been by far the best of the three 2019 first-rounders. The Alabama alum was eligible for the Tier 2 option price ($8MM) because of his 2020 Pro Bowl nod. Although Jacobs’ passing-game usage spiked in 2021 (54 receptions), Ziegler and Josh McDaniels put the three-year starter on track for free agency. Jacobs averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2019 and finished second to Kyler Murray for Offensive Rookie of the Year, but he finished that season and the 2020 campaign on IR. Jacobs, however, finished strong in 2021 and was instrumental in Las Vegas qualifying for the playoffs.

Chosen 27th overall (the Cooper slot), Abram missed almost all of his rookie season because of a Week 1 injury. He still started 27 games from 2020-21 and made 116 tackles last season. A late-December labrum tear ended Abram’s 2021 season, however. Patrick Graham will be his third DC in three years.

Raiders Designate Jalen Richard For Return

The Raiders have designated running back Jalen Richard for return. Meanwhile, fellow RB Josh Jacobs joined the team for practice on Thursday, a sign that he could take the field against the Chargers this week. 

Richard has spent five seasons with the Raiders, including a 2018 campaign where he finished with 866 yards from scrimmage. He hasn’t been able to match that production over the past two years, combining for only 729 yards from scrimmage in 29 games. Still, the 27-year-old was supposed to open the year as a primary backup to Jacobs. Instead, he’s been sidelined for the last couple of months with a foot injury.

Jacobs, meanwhile, has not been seen since the season opener against the Ravens. Instead of putting him on IR and ruling him out for three games, they’ve tasked Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber with handling the workload. The two-time 1,000-yard rusher scored two touchdowns in that game with 40 all-purpose yards.

Drake has yet to flourish in their stead, but Barber delivered last week with 111 rushing yards to help top the Dolphins.

Raiders’ Josh Jacobs To Miss Week 2

The Raiders will be down another member of their starting offense for their Week 2 game against the Steelers. After losing Denzelle Good for the season, the team ruled out Josh Jacobs for Sunday’s matchup.

Jacobs missed practice throughout the week due to toe and ankle injuries. The toe issue emerged before Las Vegas’ opener; the ankle problem surfaced on this week’s injury reports.

The two-time 1,000-yard rusher appeared on the Raiders’ first injury report of the season but played against the Ravens. Jacobs scored two touchdowns in the Raiders’ Monday victory. Jacobs played 15 games last season, doing so after finishing his rookie season on IR due to an ankle ailment.

Kenyan Drake, whom the Raiders gave a two-year deal worth $11MM, stands to move into the team’s starting lineup. Drake spent the past two seasons as the Cardinals’ starting back. Playing on the transition tag last season, the former Dolphins draftee gained 955 rushing yards (4.0 per carry). Jon Gruden, however, said recent pickup Peyton Barber will pick up some of the slack as well. The Raiders added Barber after Washington released him ahead of this year’s roster cutdown deadline.

Raiders RB Josh Jacobs Arrested For DUI

The Raiders just wrapped up a disappointing season that saw the team miss the playoffs again, and now they’re getting more bad news. Starting running back Josh Jacobs has been arrested for DUI, according to Kevin Bolinger of FOX 5 Vegas (Twitter link).

Las Vegas police confirmed that Jacobs was in a single car accident at the airport at 4:42 AM, and that police suspected impairment. He was then taken to the hospital to be checked out, so it sounds like he suffered at least some minor injuries. Jacobs has since been released from custody and has a court date set for March 8th. Obviously it’s very early in the process but if the details are confirmed, Jacobs could be looking at a short suspension for a personal conduct policy violation.

Lawyers for Jacobs quickly released a statement after the news broke, saying “No complaint has been filed against our client and there are no blood test results to support a suggestion of impairment. We intend to enter a not guilty plea on behalf of Mr. Jacobs if he is ever charged.”

The Raiders didn’t offer much, saying in a statement of their own “The Raiders are aware of the situation involving Josh Jacobs. The organization takes these matters seriously and we have no further comment at this time.”

The 24th overall pick of the 2019 draft, Jacobs made the Pro Bowl for his play this past season. He became the Raiders’ featured back as a rookie, starting all 13 games he played in and rushing for 1,150 and seven touchdowns. This past year he rushed for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns in 15 games.

His efficiency dipped in 2020, as he averaged only 3.9 yards per carry, down from 4.8 as a rookie. That wasn’t all his fault though, as Vegas’ offensive line wasn’t quite as sharp and Jacobs also played through significant injuries in the second half of the season. He was also more involved in the passing game, drawing 45 targets, up from 27 the year before. We’ll keep you posted as we hear more on this situation.

Raiders’ Josh Jacobs To Miss Week 13

For the first time this season, the Raiders will be without their starting running back. They ruled Josh Jacobs out for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

Jacobs suffered an ankle injury against the Falcons and has not practiced this week. The team will hold him out of its matchup against an 0-11 team, putting Devontae Booker in line to receive a starter’s workload.

This certainly is a situation to monitor for the playoff-contending team. Last season, the Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up could not cement his case for that award after a shoulder injury halted his initial NFL season. Jacobs played through that issue for a while but ended up being shut down, missing the final two games of last season and ending his rookie slate with three injury-related absences. Jacobs still broke the franchise’s rookie rushing record.

This season, Jacobs has again been one of the NFL’s top rushers. Despite the Raiders missing various starting offensive linemen for most of the year, Jacobs has rushed for 782 yards (fifth in the NFL) and nine touchdowns. The Alabama product’s average is down a full yard, however, sitting at 3.8 through 11 games.

Las Vegas signed Booker this offseason and has used him as Jacobs’ primary backup. After seeing his role minimized in Denver, Booker has averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 59 totes with Las Vegas this season. The Raiders will have Booker and passing-down backs Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick in a key game in New Jersey.

Raiders Host Spencer Ware On Visit

Josh Jacobs has not practiced this week, putting his availability for Sunday’s Raiders-Jets game in doubt. The Raiders are looking at a longtime Chiefs running back for potential insurance.

The Raiders hosted Spencer Ware on a Thursday visit, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The free agent running back last played for Kansas City in December 2019, having re-signed with the Chiefs during their Super Bowl-winning season. Ware, 29, has not signed with anyone this year.

Jacobs is battling an ankle injury sustained during the Raiders’ blowout loss to the Falcons. Devontae Booker has worked as his immediate backup this season and would start if Jacobs could not go Sunday. Las Vegas has passing-down backs Jalen Richard and Theo Riddick on its 53-man roster as well.

The Chiefs turned to Ware after Jamaal Charles went down in 2015. Charles’ immediate successor led the 2016 team with 921 rushing yards, earning a contract extension. But the Chiefs pivoted to Kareem Hunt in 2017, after a Ware season-ending injury, and Ware signed with the Colts in 2019. While Ware played in just three games last season, he averaged 4.8 yards per carry in 2018. A shoulder injury ended Ware’s brief Chiefs stint last season.