Zamir White

Latest On Raiders’ RB Situation

Josh Jacobs is no longer in place for the Raiders, meaning the team’s backfield will look different in 2024. After the former first-rounder departed without any negotiations on a re-signingZamir White is on track to handle lead back duties.

The latter showed promise last season, his second in the NFL. White racked up 451 rushing yards, many of which came during a four-week stretch to close out the campaign in which Jacobs was sidelined through injury. The 24-year-old should be expected to shoulder by far the heaviest workload of his career in 2024, although free agent Alexander Mattison represents an experienced competitor for carries.

“Just because [White has] got the job now, that doesn’t mean it can’t be taken,” head coach Antonio Pierce confirmed, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “Alex Mattison is a really good football player, and that’s how I’m going to keep going about our team… So Zamir understands that – don’t get comfortable. And I think he’s done a really good job with that.”

Mattison spent his first five NFL seasons in Minnesota, generally serving as Dalvin Cook‘s backup. The Vikings’ decision to move on from the four-time Pro Bowler last offseason left the door open to Mattison seeing increased usage. He logged a career-high in carries (180) and rushing yards (700), but his efficiency of 3.9 yards per attempt and lack of rushing scores led to Minnesota moving on. Mattison, 25, inked a one-year, $2MM pact in March as he aims to rebuild his value.

A report from last month confirmed the White-Mattison arrangement was the Raiders’ plan at the running back spot, and veteran Ameer Abdullah is in place as a special teams mainstay. As Tafur notes, though, Vegas could be in the market for another addition during training camp or as part of roster cutdowns. With White on his rookie pact and the team having elected not to retain Jacobs on a lucrative deal, the position does not feature a pricey commitment at this time.

To no surprise, several veterans are still unsigned during the period between offseason programs ending and training camps beginning. Cook, Kareem Hunt and Cam Akers are among the backs who are on the market and who should be available for a low price in the summer. Vegas has over $34MM in cap space, although splashy signings through the remainder of the 2024 offseason should not be expected. Plenty will of course depend on the outcome of the competition between White and Mattison once camp opens next month.

Zamir White Expected To Be Raiders’ RB Starter; Jack Jones ‘Set’ As Starting CB

One of the more eventful days in running back history, transactionally speaking, occurred March 11. More than a third of the league either signed a veteran starter or lost one, with several clubs in both camps. The Raiders ended up only in the first section, losing Josh Jacobs to the Packers hours into the legal tampering period.

More moves affecting 2023 starters occurred soon after, as the Raiders added primary Vikings first-stringer Alexander Mattison a week into free agency. While Mattison worked as Minnesota’s initial Dalvin Cook replacement last year, the Raiders might not be readying a competition to fill the spot Jacobs held for five years.

[RELATED: Raiders’ Josh Jacobs Offer Not Close To Packers’ Proposal]

The Raiders brought in Mattison as a player who will work as a sidekick to Zamir White, per the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Vincent Bonsignore. White filled in for Jacobs as the Las Vegas starter over the final four games last season. He totaled 100-plus rushing yards in two of those tilts. Two seasons remain on White’s rookie contract, giving him a path to take over as a multiyear option for the Raiders.

The Vikings released Mattison one year into a two-year contract; the Raiders gave him a one-year, $2MM deal. The former third-round pick’s run as Cook’s replacement did not go well. While the Vikings look to have picked the right offseason to jettison Cook, their run game ranked 29th. Mattison averaged 3.9 yards per carry and did not score a rushing touchdown. The Vikings joined the Raiders in investing a 2022 Day 3 pick on a back (Ty Chandler), and Jacobs’ Green Bay arrival led Aaron Jones to Minneapolis. Mattison, 25, fared better as a Cook spot starter in prior years; the Raiders will give him a chance to mix in behind White, who is going into his age-25 season.

Elsewhere on the Las Vegas depth chart, Bonsignore adds Jack Jones is “set” as a starting cornerback. The ex-Patriots draftee is on track to work as one of the Raiders’ boundary starters, with a competition in the works for the role alongside he and slot cog Nate Hobbs. Considering where Jones stood prior to the Raiders claiming him, a route to a clear-cut starting role is interesting.

Jones undoubtedly benefited from ownership’s decision to remove Antonio Pierce‘s interim tag. Pierce coached Jones at both Long Beach Poly High and then at Arizona State. Jones, 26, ran into off-field trouble in college and in the NFL. An arrest for trying to bring a loaded gun onto a plane overshadowed Jones’ 2023 offseason, and the 2022 fourth-round pick fell out of favor with Bill Belichick late last season. The Patriots waived Jones after he had missed curfew in Germany.

The Raiders upped the talented corner’s usage rate shortly after the November waiver claim, using him as a starter over the final three games. Jones delivered a memorable stretch, which included pick-sixes in back-to-back games. A 2022 starter who encountered speedbumps last year — which also featured an IR stint following a September hamstring injury — Jones is on steadier ground with his second NFL team.

The team let Amik Robertson walk (to the Lions) in free agency and did not draft a corner until Round 4. The Raiders used fourth- and seventh-round picks at the position, but the team is planning to have Jones and Hobbs as locked-in starters. Jakorian Bennett and the reacquired Brandon Facyson may be the early leaders for the other boundary CB job, Bonsignore adds, with the rookies (Decamerion Richardson, M.J. Devonshire) in the mix now as well.

Raiders To Sign RB Alexander Mattison

The running back carousel continues. According to Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, the Raiders are signing free agent running back Alexander Mattison. Schultz reported earlier today that the two sides were meeting, with the reporter adding that “multiple teams” were in play for the running back.

[RELATED: Vikings To Release RB Alexander Mattison]

The former third-round pick spent the first four seasons of his career backing up Dalvin Cook in Minnesota. That still meant plenty of carries for Mattison, as he topped 500 yards from scrimmage in each of his first three campaigns.

Mattison’s counting stats took a step back in 2022 when Cook unexpectedly started all 17 games. The Vikings re-signed the backup last offseason before moving on from Cook, leading to Mattison getting a full workload for the first time in his career. Ultimately, the fifth-year player wasn’t able to elevate his play with a larger role. He finished the season with only 3.9 yards per carry, and his 4.2 yards per touch tied a career low.

After finishing the season with only 892 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns, the Vikings moved on from Mattison last month. The organization has since signed Aaron Jones as a replacement.

With Josh Jacobs having left for the Packers, the Raiders had a hole atop their depth chart. Zamir White looked capable when he had a chance to start at the end of this past season, with the former fourth-round pick averaging more than 114 yards from scrimmage in his four games as the lead back. Mattison provides the Raiders with another capable running back, but neither of the players possess the same pedigree as the player they’ll be replacing.

Raiders Will “Attempt” To Re-Sign RB Josh Jacobs

None of the big-name, impending-free-agent running backs are expected to be franchise tagged, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that teams are closing the door on retaining their offensive focal points. This includes the Raiders, who will attempt to re-sign free agent RB Josh Jacobs, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

[RELATED: Raiders Remain Interested In Re-Signing RB Josh Jacobs]

There have been previous rumblings that the Raiders could look to retain the star running back, but only on their terms. The team had no interest in franchising Jacobs for a second-straight season, a move that would have locked the RB into a $14.14MM salary. That commitment would have placed Jacobs third at his position in average annual value (behind Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara) and would have marked a nearly $2.5MM increase on his 2023 cap hit.

Considering the deep free agency class at the position and the anticipated squeeze that some free agent RBs will surely face, it should be a relief for Jacobs that the Raiders are somewhat valuing continuity. The running back has spent his entire career with the organization, including a 2022 campaign where he finished with a league-high 2,053 yards from scrimmage to go along with 12 touchdowns. That performance followed the Raiders’ decision to not pick up his fifth-year option, making Jacobs an impending free agent last offseason.

The organization never let their star hit free agency, slapping him with the franchise tag instead. The two sides couldn’t agree to a long-term extension but ultimately reworked the 2023 contract to avoid a holdout. While Jacobs couldn’t match his 2022 production, he still compiled 1,101 yards from scrimmage before missing the final four games of the season.

This time around, Jacobs will be facing a different regime in Las Vegas, although that might not end up working out in his favor. As our own Adam La Rose recently pointed out, new Raiders GM Tom Telesco was running the Chargers front office when the organization allowed Austin Ekeler to pursue a trade in lieu of an extension. The standoff between running backs and front offices will certainly be one of the major story lines of the offseason, and Jacobs will be a central figure in the conversation.

If Jacobs doesn’t return to Las Vegas, the Raiders could pivot to Zamir White. The former fourth-round pick had a chance to start at the end of this past season, averaging more than 114 yards from scrimmage in his four games as the lead back.

NFL Injury Updates: Jacobs, Miller, Vikings, Sutton

To start with, let’s address one of the remaining games of this week. It appears that the Chiefs’ route to an eighth consecutive AFC West title will be a bit easier today as the Raiders will be playing without leading running back Josh Jacobs, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. After starting the first 13 games of the season with Las Vegas, Jacobs is now set to miss a second straight game.

Jacobs was held out of last week’s contest after suffering a quad injury in the previous week. He hadn’t been able to practice during a short week and the team had decided it better to act out of an abundance of caution so as to not risk further damage. The Raiders had been holding out hope that Jacobs would be able to find his way back to the field this week, but an illness combined with the healing quad to ensure that Jacobs would not be able to make an appearance in Week 16. If his absence last week, backup Zamir White earned his first career start, rushing for 69 yards and a touchdown in place of Jacobs.

After a promising start to his career, the last few years have been a bit inconsistent for Jacobs. He followed up two seasons in which he rushed for a combined 2,215 yards and 19 touchdowns with only an 872-yard campaign, though he was still breaching the endzone often with nine touchdowns. After a down year that led to the Raiders choosing not to pick up his fifth-year option, Jacobs exploding into a rushing title with 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns. This year, Jacobs is at 805 rushing yards on a career-worst 3.5 yards per attempt and six touchdowns.

Jacobs had avoided playing out this season on the franchise tag, after coming to a one-year agreement with the Raiders, but a long-term deal remained elusive. Missing time due to injury at the tail end of disappointing season is unfortunately not going to help matters much when Jacobs enters the offseason at the end of the year.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the NFL:

  • In addition to Jacobs, while Las Vegas will reportedly have left tackle Kolton Miller return today as an active player, it appears that he may only be available as an emergency option on the offensive line, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Miller has missed four of the team’s last five contests. In his absence the Raiders have experimented with moving usual starting right tackle Thayer Munford to the left side while having backup lineman Jermaine Eluemunor start on the opposite side of wherever they line up Munford. That trend should continue into Week 16.
  • We already reported on the situation with Vikings pass rusher D.J. Wonnum, but the team lost three other significant contributors to injury during yesterday’s game. Budding tight end T.J. Hockenson, rookie first-round wide receiver Jordan Addison, and cornerback Mekhi Blackmon were all forced out of Sunday’s game early. Fowler of ESPN reported this morning that the outlook for Hockenson is “not good.” While Minnesota is still holding out hope that his MRI will tell a different story, the team is bracing for bad news on the subject. As for Addison, an ankle sprain is projected to have him on a week-to-week status, and the Vikings will hope to glean a bit more information after further testing today, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
  • Lastly, the Broncos played much of yesterday’s loss to the Patriots without their leading receiver after Courtland Sutton left the game with a concussion, according to Parker Gabriel of The Denver Post. Sutton has struggled over the years to find the yardage success he had in 2019 but has rediscovered his redzone proficiency in 2023. The big-bodied receiver leads the team in receptions (58), receiving yards (770), and receiving touchdowns (10) this season. Sutton will have to pass through concussion protocol to return next week in time to help his team in what has become a bit more difficult race for a Wild Card spot.

Raiders’ Josh Jacobs Could Sit Out Week 1?

Running back Josh Jacobs has already missed the Raiders offseason program and mandatory minicamp as he pursues a long-term pact, and he could extend his unofficial holdout into the regular season. During an appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero hinted that Jacobs could sit out part of the regular season if he doesn’t get a new deal.

[RELATED: Raiders Not Closing Door On Josh Jacobs Extension]

“The one [running back situation] that nobody’s talking about is Josh Jacobs,” Pelissero said (h/t to CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan). “At this point, if there’s not a long-term deal, I don’t anticipate Josh Jacobs being there at the start of training camp and I don’t know that he shows up Week 1.”

Jacobs was slapped with the franchise tag earlier this offseason, locking him into a guaranteed $10.1MM salary for next season. Since Jacobs hasn’t signed his franchise tag, he wouldn’t face any penalties for missing training camp or preseason games. If he sits out regular season games, he would lose checks for each contest missed.

Jacobs and the Raiders have until July 17 to negotiate a long-term deal. As a result of that deadline, any hypothetical Jacobs holdout wouldn’t do anything to help his case for signing a long-term pact in 2023. The running back could point to preserving future earnings as a reason for sitting out regular season games, but running backs like Le’Veon Bell and Melvin Gordon struggled to recoup their value when they followed a similar mindset.

It’s not a surprise that Jacobs is trying to grasp at the little leverage he has as we get closer to that July 17 deadline. Jacobs has previously talked of taking a stance for future running backs, and he’s also hinted at “bad business” coming from the Raiders organization. The threat of a holdout probably won’t be enough to make the Raiders front office blink, but if the two sides don’t agree to a long-term deal, the organization at least has to prepare for a potential Jacobs absence.

We heard earlier this week that the Raiders wanted to lessen Jacobs’ workload in 2023 while expanding the roles of 2022 draftees Zamir White and Brittain Brown. White got into 14 games as a rookie, collecting 70 total yards from scrimmage. Brown got into six games as a rookie but exclusively played on special teams.

Raiders Notes: Hobbs, Pass Rush, Jacobs

Let’s round up a few notes on the NFL’s Sin City franchise:

  • Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs, a fifth-round pick in 2021, earned nine starts in his first professional season and started all 11 contests he appeared in last year (he missed six games with a broken hand). Working primarily as a boundary corner, the Illinois product regressed a bit from his strong rookie campaign, when he spent most of his time in the slot. Per Vic Tafur and Tashan Reed of The Athletic (subscription required), Hobbs would like to return to nickelback, where he apparently feels more comfortable. However, Tyler Hall, who played in seven games (three starts) for Las Vegas in 2022 after joining the club’s taxi squad in October, is expected to push Hobbs for that role.
  • During this year’s predraft process, we learned that the Raiders were eyeing Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson and believed that Wilson (or a similar player) could ease some of the burden on Chandler Jones, thereby making Jones more productive after the veteran underwhelmed during his first season in Vegas. Of course, the club ended up selecting Wilson with the No. 7 overall pick, and as Albert Breer of writes, the Raiders hope that Wilson’s presence will allow both the 33-year-old Jones and soon-to-be 26-year-old Maxx Crosby to see less time on the field. The coaching staff envisions a rotation among the three players to keep everyone fresh, healthy, and productive. Indeed, Wilson himself saw his final college season cut short due to a Lisfranc injury, though he is expected to be cleared in time for training camp.
  • The Raiders also want to create more of a rotation for their running backs. Assuming franchise-tagged RB Josh Jacobs does not hold out — both he and the club are reportedly motivated to strike an accord on a multiyear deal prior to the July 17 deadline — he will obviously be the feature back. But as Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes, the team wants to expand the roles of 2022 draftees Zamir White and Brittain Brown in an effort to ease Jacobs’ workload and, perhaps, to begin preparing for a Jacobs departure in 2024.

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.

Raiders Not Expecting Any Rookies To Start In 2022

A rumor that isn’t totally surprising given the situation, after not making a selection in the 2022 NFL Draft until near the end of Day 2, Las Vegas does not expect any of their rookies to man starting roles this season, reports Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

This marks a departure from the recent trend for the Raiders, when desperate needs on the depth chart forced players like Josh Jacobs, Henry Ruggs, Kolton Miller, Clelin Ferrell, and others onto the field as rookies. The lack of Day 1 and 2 picks combined with a more well-staffed roster puts Las Vegas in a situation wherein they don’t have to rush the development of their rookie class.

The Raiders spent two picks on running backs in April. The team selected Georgia running back Zamir White in the fourth round and UCLA running back Brittain Brown in the seventh. White is a talented back once considered the top recruit in the country at his position in high school. A couple of ACL injuries and a logjammed running backs room in Georgia led to a less impactful career with the Bulldogs than expected, but White still led the team in rushing yards the past two seasons with 779 yards in 2020 and 856 yards in 2021 while scoring 11 touchdowns in each season. Brown had his best season as a freshman at Duke but transferred to UCLA after Deon Jackson took over in Durham. He was the No. 2 running back in a two-back system in Los Angeles both years with Demetric Felton in 2020 and Zach Charbonnet in 2021.

The Raiders’ starting running back job is not up for competition. Even after a down year in 2021, incumbent Josh Jacobs will return as the lead-back in Las Vegas. Kenyan Drake returns as the primary backup, as well. White will likely have a talent edge over Brandon Bolden, but Brown will need to work hard to displace Bolden for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Also on offense, the Raiders spent their first pick of the draft on Memphis offensive lineman Dylan Parham in the third round and added Ohio State offensive tackle Thayer Munford in the seventh. Parham is an athletic lineman, moving from tight end to the offensive line while redshirting for the Tigers. He started all four seasons after redshirting and worked at left guard, center, right guard, and right tackle during his tenure, starting games at every position except center. Munford was a four-year starter (utilizing his extra year of eligibility granted due to COVID-19) after spending his freshman year as a reserve lineman. He started his sophomore through senior seasons as a tackle, but moved to left guard for his super-senior season.

Parham has the best chance of any of the Vegas rookies to start next year, but certainly won’t be forced to, as the Raiders have some position battles going on within the offensive line. Andre James and Kolton Miller should return to their respective starting positions of center and left tackle. Some combination of John Simpson, Denzelle Good, and Alex Leatherwood are expected to fill out the right tackle and guards positions. Parham could potentially find his way into one of the starting guard spots, depending on how the dominos fall, but more likely will find himself as the sixth-man of the offensive line who can fill in at any position, similar to Patrick Mekari‘s role in Baltimore. Munford on the other hand is cemented a bit further down the depth chart as a reserve tackle. Munford has a lot of the physical tools to become a contributor in the NFL and his situation in Las Vegas will allow him to develop his ability to use those tools over time.

The other two draft picks the Raiders used in 2022 were spent on defensive tackles. The team selected LSU’s Neil Farrell Jr. in the fourth round and Tennessee’s Matthew Butler in the fifth. Farrell won a national championship with the 2019 Tigers and went on to use his extra year of eligibility in 2021. Butler played in 52 games for the Volunteers and earned 9.5 sacks during his tenure.

Neither Butler nor Farrell are expected to have much of an impact on the Raiders defensive line this year. Entrenched behind Johnathan Hankins, Bilal Nichols, Kyle Peko, and Vernon Butler on the depth chart, the rookie Butler and Farrell are depth pieces in the middle. If the rookies develop quickly and prove to be more impactful than Peko and the older Butler, they can really get some substantial playing time. As it is, though, the two rookies will find their playing time as reserves for a position that rotates often.

After running through the picks, the initial comment makes a lot of sense. It’s not necessarily that the rookie picks aren’t talented enough to be starters in the NFL, but, with the Raiders’ current roster, there’s no need to force any of their first-year players into a starting role for which they aren’t yet ready.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 6/8/22

Today’s late-round draft pick signings:

Las Vegas Raiders

White had productive sophomore and junior seasons at Georgia. Over the past two years, the running back collected 1,747 yards from scrimmage and 22 touchdowns in 25 games. The Raiders have a crowded depth chart at RB, but he could slide in behind Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake as the third running back (especially if Brandon Bolden primarily plays special teams).