In 2019, the Las Vegas Raiders had three first-round picks. The second of those three was on Josh Jacobs, an enticing running back out of Alabama. At the time, the Raiders were still transitioning away from the Marshawn Lynch days. They also didn’t have a clear number one back.
With that in mind, as soon as Jacobs was selected, fans already knew that spot was his to lose. Jacobs would go on to have a notable rookie season and was barely beat out by Miles Sanders for the Rookie of the Year award. Since that first season though, Jacobs has failed to establish himself as one of the better running backs in the league as everyone thought he would. Let’s take a look at some things contributing to his potential Raiders exit and determine if Jacobs has lost his place yet.
Raiders News: Are Josh Jacobs’ days numbered?
The first, and one of the main reasons Jacobs is in this situation, is because of his own body. In Alabama, Jacobs was used sparingly thanks to a load of talent around him in the backfield. Because of that, when he was drafted, many fans were excited that he faced less wear-and-tear in college and hoped that would point to him staying durable in the NFL. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.
The thing is, Josh Jacobs has been very good when healthy. In his rookie season, Jacobs was sensational. He missed three games due to injuries, but still rushed for over 1,100 yards and averaged nearly five yards per carry. Then in 2020, he played through various injuries, and while still gaining 1,000 yards on the ground, he could only muster 3.9 yards per carry. In 2020, Jacobs battled injuries again and was held to under 900 yards on the season.
These injuries do seem to be taking a toll on the young back. Yet they haven’t reduced their team’s performance on the field. Josh Jacobs had an incredible stretch in the last couple games of the 2021 season. If not for that, Las Vegas probably wouldn’t have made the playoffs. The Raiders need Jacobs’ talent; they just need him to stay healthy as well.
Contract Situation, and a New Regime
The easiest way to tell how a franchise values its players is through their payroll. As soon as Dave Ziegler and Josh McDaniels got to town, they started handing out massive contracts like Oprah. Most of those have gone to players on the offense, including Derek Carr, Davante Adams, and Hunter Renfrow. The Raiders have also been in contact with Darren Waller.
Jacobs is one notable name that stands out. He’s seen every other important piece on his offense get a raise, but his name still waits to be called. To make matters worse, the new regime brought in two more backs, Brandon Bolden and Zamir White, while simultaneously turning down Jacobs’ contract option. The newcomers in town appear to have made their feelings about Jacobs quite clear.
What’s Next for Josh Jacobs?
Ultimately, this season is do-or-die for Josh Jacobs. He will be a free agent following this season, and it doesn’t seem like the new front office is thrilled about the possibility of Jacobs remaining in the fold.
Still, Josh Jacobs has a ton of talent and is one of the tougher guys on the roster. He’s never been known to back down from a fight, and this is just another one for him to deal with. If he can put in a solid season and stay healthy, he’ll have the chance to return. Likewise, if he can’t get the ball moving and continues to deal with injuries, the curtains will close on Josh’s Raiders’ career.
*Top Photo: Sporting News