Will Las Vegas Raiders running back Jalen Richard make it to training camp and beyond? So far, it’s looking good for one of the remnants of the pre-Jon Gruden era.
As fans await training camp to get underway on July 27th, Richard has been the subject of offseason conversations. A lot of this stems from the team opting to bring in Kenyan Drake to help build a one-two punch in the backfield. Even before this signing, Richard’s role within the offense had been diminishing since Gruden’s return to the Raiders. The question is whether they will keep him around long enough to make an impact in 2021.
Along with Derek Carr, Nicholas Morrow, and Karl Joseph, Richard is one of four players that predate Gruden. At one point, Richard was one of Carr’s favorite targets as a reliable option in the passing game out of the backfield. Back in 2018, Richard was targeted 81 times by the signal-caller. Since then, he’s had 66 targets the last two years, total. Though he can still perform on special teams if need be, is Richard worth his current price tag? Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently shed some light on this dilemma.
“One would think if the Raiders were going to make a move on Richard to free up cap space, it would have already happened. His $3.5-million salary for 2021 is not guaranteed, so there are no cap ramifications by releasing or trading him at this point.
Richard could still serve a purpose for the Raiders
The fact that Richard’s contract doesn’t put a damper on the team’s financial structure bodes well for him. And it’s true if the Raiders truly wanted to part ways with Richard, the feeling seems to be that they would’ve done it already.
As far as a role, Richard can still be relied upon as the third running back if need be. Also, despite decreasing numbers on special teams, he can surely contribute to that department. From 2016 through 2019, Richard accumulated 68 punt returns and 34 kick returns. It would appear both parties can benefit from the current situation. For the Raiders, they essentially can keep Richard around and it won’t affect their bottom line. Richard knows Gruden’s intricate offense and Carr trusts ’30.’
As for Richard, he’s more than serviceable and would land on his feet if he were to be cut. Perhaps a reunion with Todd Downing could take place?
You May Also Like: Former NFL WR: Carr ‘Hasn’t Played Well In Moments That Mattered The Most’
*Top Photo: Associated Press/Marcio Jose Sanchez