If you were running the Las Vegas Raiders, would you pay $14 million a year for running back Josh Jacobs on a long-term deal? Of course, that’s a hypothetical question. Fans and the media do not run NFL teams; though, technically, Mike Mayock was media before becoming, never mind, that’s beside the point. The real question is regarding the future of Jacobs. In a perfect world, general manager Dave Ziegler would keep all of his stars after the 2022 season. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen.
Prior to the season, Ziegler declined the fifth-year option on Jacobs’s contract. It was a move that left a few people stunned, but overall, it shouldn’t have been shocking. Jacobs was coming off a season in which his health was an issue, with injuries piling up and his production dwindling. Eventually, Jacobs turned that into motivation. So much so, you could argue he’s the best NFL running back at the moment. The caveat is that paying top dollar for an expendable position isn’t smart financially. Raiders fans and even Davante Adams are begging this team to pay Jacobs. That’s understandable, even expected, given the play of No. 28 this season. However, is he worth upwards of $14 million a year?
What to do about Josh Jacobs? Someone’s going to pay him…Â
It’s funny how things worked out. Before the season began, the belief was that new head coach Josh McDaniels was going to use a running back by committee. Instead, Jacobs is the committee. As important as Jacobs is at the moment, the Raiders still have many holes to fill. Those holes will not be repaired cheaply either. Do they believe in the running backs in-house right now enough to let Jacobs walk away? They could use the franchise tag on Jacobs, extending his contract for another year and paying him more than $10 million, given the current value of this year’s franchise tag figure for running backs.
Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac recently mentioned on 920 AM Raider Nation Radio he thinks “there’s no question” that the Raiders will use the tag on Jacobs. So, there’s that.
The other route would be a long-term deal, one that goes beyond 2023. Many publications, including Heavy Sports and Sportsnaut, have the ballpark figure between $14 and, wait for it, $16 million a year. That’s a lot of serious coin. No one’s denying that Jacobs has earned a big payday. Be that as it may, does the current team brass believe in paying a running back that much? Remember, they’re from the New England Patriots school of thought. It’s a place that’s notorious for not paying for that position. Do Ziegler and McDaniels have other intentions?
*Top Photo: NBC Sports/Daniel Shirey