Raiders News: Josh Jacobs

Story Of Raiders’ Offseason: Josh Jacobs, From Hero To Villian, Back To Hero

The NFL is a business, and its product is the game of football. Contract negotiations are a very delicate and frustrating process for both sides. Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher in 2022, played the game and won. Surely, Las Vegas Raiders fans won too, as they welcomed back last year’s All-Pro.

“I mean s***, we here. I mean, I feel like we made it happen, so it ain’t no hard feelings now. It was never really just like no hate on each side, but at the same time I understood my value too. So, it was just about meeting in the middle.” -Raiders RB Josh Jacobs

The smile reciprocated between Jacobs and general manager Dave Ziegler while Jacobs was walking up to the building was genuine. Business is never personal and seeing that on full display is a sight for sore eyes. No matter what happened with the contract dispute, neither side made it personal.

By getting this deal done, everyone wins. First, head coach Josh McDaniels gets an integral part of his offense back. Second, Jacobs gets his bag, and the fans have their completed team.

“You either die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.” -Harvey Dent, The Dark Night

Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts are prime examples of what happens when negotiations get personal. Not only did Taylor not get traded, but he was also unceremoniously put on the PUP list. He is sitting out for the first four weeks of the season, and should he choose to sit out the entire season, the Colts retain his rights for 2024 anyway.

The Raiders, Josh Jacobs, and meeting in the middle…

At some point, pushing to be paid what he was worth would rub some in Raider Nation the wrong way, and Jacobs knew it. For him, it was always about playing football. By not signing his franchise tag, Jacobs opted to bet on himself. For the duration of training camp and the preseason, he sacrificed being with his teammates to prove his point.

Allowing other running backs to play continued to elevate his value to the team. No disrespect to the other running backs on the depth chart, but they simply aren’t Jacobs. Zamir White has improved his game a lot since his rookie year; he stands poised to make an impact in 2023, whereas he wasn’t quite ready in 2022. The things White does well certainly produce optimism about what he can accomplish. It also showed that his game isn’t at a level where the Raiders shouldn’t have paid Jacobs.

Ziegler was in a foxhole, and he knew it. It became time for him to do what should have been the easiest thing to do: pay that man his money. As of now, there is no long-term deal that has been reportedly agreed to. But Jacobs earned himself nearly two million dollars extra in income tax-free Nevada.

Securing the bag? Josh Jacobs did exactly…

The franchise tag valuation was $10.09 million. By waiting, Jacobs received a one-year, $11.79 million deal, with a $2.5 million signing bonus, a $100,000 per game bonus, and $200,000 in incentives.

Jacobs currently has the third-highest cap hit for all running backs in 2023, behind only Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb. In comparison, their cap hits are $16.3 million and $14.8 million, respectively. A good meeting point for both the player and the team.

More importantly, by giving Jacobs the bag, the proper message of taking care of their own gets sent to all the players. Davante Adams has weighed in on Jacobs getting his money. So have Maxx and even McDaniels, to a lesser extent. If players exceed expectations and produce at the highest levels, they should expect to be compensated. Parting from fanatical expectations of taking less for the good of the team.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

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