Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is still a no-show at training camp. With contract talks breaking down, Jacobs has yet to take part in team activities this offseason. All things considered, is it maybe time that general manager Dave Ziegler turns his attention to a big-name free agent?
While the Raiders do have cap space after restructuring some contracts recently, you’d be hard-pressed to believe they would use that money on a running back. However, if you remove Jacobs from the equation, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the position. Zamir White and Brittain Brown have upside and are impressing in camp, but as we all know, camp and an actual game are two different things. The notion that you can plug and play, replacing players at will because you don’t want to pay accordingly, can backfire.
Sooner or later, you have to pay your guys. Still, that’s another debate for another day. For now, the train keeps chugging along in Henderson, though without Jacobs. While there’s been no hint at a move anytime soon from Raiders’ brass, that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. Ziegler and Co. keep things close to the vest; if they’re planning something, only a handful of select people would know. Even so, we can still speculate; after all, there’s a bountiful selection of proven running backs still available.
Should Dave Ziegler and the Raiders consider signing a free agent running back?
While Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden are favorites of head coach Josh McDaniels, you’re in trouble if that’s at the top of your depth chart. If you want an All-Pro to take the place of Jacobs, well, you sign one. Just Blog Baby’s Brad Weiss recently suggested that Ezekiel Elliot could be worthy of a visit. Yes, we all know he’s closer to being a shell of himself than the premier back he once was, but there’s still an upswing. With the Raiders’ underrated offensive line blocking for him under McDaniels’ tutelage and scheme, Elliot could surely recapture some of his former glory for a relatively bargain price.
If Elliot doesn’t seem like a fit or you simply don’t like him, there are other options: Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, and Kareem Hunt. Each one brings a unique set of skills, and offensively speaking, there’s no reason McDaniels can’t make use of them. What’s interesting to note is that none of the aforementioned players have passed the age of 28. Clearly, NFL teams aren’t valuing the position as they once did. In any other era (1990s, for example), players such as Cook and Hunt would be under contract with their respective teams.
Jacobs could very well show up for Week 1, and this all will have been for naught, but the Raiders always do their due diligence. As we’ve seen before, this regime has no trouble moving on from players if it’s called for.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images