The Las Vegas Raiders have begun their mandatory minicamp, but there is one very important person missing in running back Josh Jacobs. After leading the NFL in rushing and being named a First Team All-Pro selection, Jacobs was hoping to receive a long-term contract this offseason.
The Raiders, however, slapped the franchise tag on Jacobs, and the two sides have yet to come to a long-term agreement with the running back. Jacobs has made his frustration known on social media and even responded to a rant from Brandon Marshall calling for top running backs to boycott for better contracts.
Jacobs has yet to sign his franchise tender, which means he isn’t required to attend the mandatory minicamp, but head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t too concerned. In speaking to the media, McDaniels re-iterated his love for Jacobs and noted that this is all part of the process, via Myles Simmons of Pro Football Talk:
“The deadline [for a long-term deal] is not until July,” McDaniels said in his press conference. “I respect everything about that process. This is not the first time that’s happened in terms of me being a part of that. Like I said, I stand by what I said before — love the kid, love the player, love the person. Look forward to when I see him.”
As McDaniels noted, the Raiders have until July 17 to agree to a multi-year deal with Jacobs, and regardless of how discussions have gone up to this point, there always remains a real chance for the two sides to come to a long-term agreement. But as has been noted, the running back position as a whole has been devalued, and obtaining a huge contract has become more difficult for backs overall.
The belief is that running backs generally have a shorter career span and tend to fall off around the age of 30 making many teams hesitant about paying them long-term. But Jacobs is only 25 years old, and thus the Raiders could conceivably give him a hefty contract that ends before that point in which backs tend to fall off.
Running backs are among the lowest-paid positions in the NFL now, with the highest-paid players making much less than other positions such as wide receiver, cornerback, tackles and pass rushers. This is why the thoughts of backs banding together for higher pay have been spoken about recently.
Hopefully, Jacobs and the Raiders are able to reach an agreement, as he has certainly earned the security of a long-term deal. If they can’t, however, Jacobs could play out this franchise tender and move on elsewhere a year from now.