For as much optimism as there is surrounding the Las Vegas Raiders during training camp, there remains a huge dark cloud hovering over the team. Until the saga surrounding running back Josh Jacobs is resolved, it remains unclear just what this Raiders team can accomplish.
Jacobs still has yet to report to training camp as he has not signed his franchise tender. There remains the possibility that Jacobs can ultimately sign the tender before the regular season begins or that the two sides can work out a one-year deal, as was the case between the New York Giants and Saquon Barkley. But it looks as if some progress may finally be being made.
In a recent appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Raiders GM Dave Ziegler spoke on the Jacobs situation and said he’s encouraged that they will find some common ground to get him to return to the team:
— SiriusXM NFL Radio (@SiriusXMNFL) August 14, 2023
Jacobs returning to the team would be a huge boost overall to the Raiders and ensure the ground game will be on par with the air attack. Without Jacobs, second-year back Zamir White has been taking the first-team reps, and the franchise recently brought in veteran Damien Williams to provide some depth.
But Jacobs is coming off a year in which he led the NFL in rushing and has staked his claim as one of the premier running backs in the NFL. He had hoped to be rewarded with a long-term deal, but the Raiders chose to hit Jacobs with the franchise tag, and the two sides were unable to come to terms on an extension before the deadline passed leading to discussions throughout the NFL about the value of running backs as a whole and whether they are properly compensated.
Many have spoken out on this subject including Raiders legend Marcus Allen, and it is unclear what the ultimate solution is as teams around the league have been content not to invest long-term in the position, leading to frustration from some of the NFL’s top players.
For the Raiders, Jacobs is an absolutely vital piece of the offense, and any discussions that bring him closer to being with the team are a positive sign. Hopefully, he is back in that silver and black uniform ready to go very soon.