The Las Vegas Raiders have kicked off training camp without one of their biggest stars and most important pieces in running back Josh Jacobs. Unable to come to terms on a new long-term deal after being hit with the franchise tag, Jacobs has refused to sign the tender and is not reporting to camp.
It is widely expected that he will miss all of training camp and preseason, but whether or not he is willing to push this holdout into the regular season is unclear. Someone who has experience doing this is current Baltimore Ravens running back Melvin Gordon.
Back in 2019 Gordon held out for a new contract with the Los Angeles Chargers and sat out the first four games of the season. In an appearance on the Up and Adams Show, Gordon offered some advice to Jacobs, namely to not let this stretch into the regular season, via Karl Rasmussen of Sports Illustrated:
“I wouldn’t do it. … If you’re going to holdout, just holdout until maybe like the end of camp,” said Gordon. “I definitely wouldn’t holdout and miss any games because you’re not going to get that [$10 million] back.”
“It’s really a loss. I don’t think with the running backs sitting out, it hasn’t been good really for any of us besides Zeke [Ezekiel Elliott]. I don’t know if the owner loves Josh Jacobs like Jerry Jones loves Zeke,” he added.
As Gordon pointed out, aside from Ezekiel Elliott with the Dallas Cowboys, the holdouts haven’t really resulted in any major contracts recently. This offseason both Austin Ekeler and Dalvin Cook demanded trades due to contract disputes. Ekeler was able to get a slight re-negotiation with the Chargers while Cook was outright released by the Vikings and remains unsigned.
Jacobs’ situation with the Raiders is slightly different than Gordon’s back in 2019. For one, Jacobs is coming off of being the NFL’s leading rusher which Gordon was not. And, as Gordon noted, he was only making around $5 million with the Chargers at that time while Jacobs is set to make just over $10 million on the franchise tag.
For Gordon, he never got that big contract and parted ways with the Chargers the following offseason and who knows whether that will be the case for Jacobs and the Raiders in the future. Perhaps the two sides can work out something similar to what the Giants and Saquon Barkley did, but the most positive outcome for both the Raiders and Jacobs is figuring this out and helping each other thrive this year.