There is a significant amount of doubt surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders as we approach the 2023 NFL season. The Raiders’ starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, is coming off a foot injury. Their first-round pick, defensive end Tyree Wilson, is also coming off a foot injury and is not practicing at offseason activities.
Another player is missing from the Raiders facility in Henderson, NV and his absence has nothing to do with injury. Running back Josh Jacobs is holding out for a new contract.
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Josh Jacobs Turns to Social Media During Contract Dispute
Jacobs’ absence from offseason activities speaks volumes even without him addressing the issue out loud. The star RB had his fifth-year option declined prior to the 2022 season but made it clear in February of 2023 that he wanted to be a Raider long-term.
“If it’s up to me, man, I would want to be a raider for life.”
Jacobs had the franchise tag placed on him at the conclusion of the 2022 season — the tag would net him approximately $10 million dollars in 2023.
While Jacobs may want to be a Raider for life, he took to social media on June 10 to let the football world know of the intentions behind his holdout.
Sometimes it’s not about you. We gotta do it for the ones after us 🤷🏽♂️
— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) June 10, 2023
The speculation surrounding the tweet generated a substantial amount of buzz. One fan tweeted, “Sign that tag, get to work” and Jacobs himself responded only with the word “fan..”
The general feeling around the league is that while the running back position is critical to any offense, the running backs themselves are interchangeable. Due to the pounding their bodies sustain running the ball, their “shelf life” in the NFL is not as long as those at other positions. Wide receivers or cornerbacks, for example, who take fewer hits, are more likely to be signed to long-term deals.
Jacobs clearly feels that he is holding out from offseason activities in order to pave the way for future running backs to get paid themselves.
Is it likely that Jacobs also wants to secure a large contract for himself and help running backs of the future at the same time? It appears that way.
Jacobs Is Coming Off a Career Year
It’s surprising that a deal cannot be worked out with Jacobs, given his career season in 2022. Jacobs was the focal point of the Raiders’ offense, leading the league in rushing with 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns. Jacobs had a career-high 4.9 yards per rush, was rewarded at the end of the year with his second Pro Bowl selection, and was voted as a first-team All-Pro.
Jacobs had several amazing performances in 2022, most notably during the team’s Week 11 contest against the Seattle Seahawks. Jacobs had 33 carries for 229 rushing yards and an additional 74 receiving yards. Jacobs also took two trips to the end zone, one of which was a game-winning 86-yard touchdown.
Jacobs’ production put him ahead of Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, and Derrick Henry for the 2022 rushing crown. All four of those running backs are prolific players in the league and all four are slated to make between $12.5-16 million dollars in 2023, per Spotrac. As earlier stated, Jacobs is slated to make approximately $10 million on the tag.
Will Jacobs Sign His Tag?
The date to watch is July 17, 2023. That is the last day for franchise-tagged players to sign a multi-year contract extension ahead of the 2023 season. Jacobs outperformed many of the top backs in the league and believes he should be paid as one.
The HC Josh McDaniels-GM Dave Ziegler duo come from the New England Patriots tree, where paying running backs top contracts is not the norm. Jacobs appears dug in on his holdout, and it would be surprising to see him suit up for the Raiders in 2023 without a long-term deal in place.