The NFL, much like the rest of the professional sports world, is having to conduct most of its offseason plans virtually but still appears to be on track to play the 2020 NFL season albeit with no fans. While there have not been many talks of suspending or cancelling the season, things like testing and safety protocols need to be put in place in order for games to be played in good conscience.
In the meantime, teams like the Las Vegas Raiders must continue to operate as normal as possible in the event that the upcoming season does indeed happen. The Raiders, on paper, look like a much more complete squad after addressing some pressing needs in both free agency and the draft.
When Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden joined, it was apparent that the franchise would need an overhaul and they are right on track as they have acquired the pieces who fit their vision and play style. It is well within the realm of possibility that they surprise a few teams and make a real run at a postseason spot in 2020.
The ground game was the team’s strength during the 2019 NFL season as Josh Jacobs and the offensive line did a solid job of controlling the tempo and tiring out opposing offenses. However, the then-rookie running back suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to miss three out of the last four games of the year.
Jacobs should resume his workhouse role for the 2020 season, but the Raiders needed to build their running back depth and did just that by signing Devontae Booker. According to Field Yates of ESPN, Booker’s contract is a reasonable one:
New Raiders RB Devontae Booker's one-year contract included a $50K signing bonus and qualifies for the veteran salary benefit ($887,500 cap charge).
Vegas backfield snapshot: Josh Jacobs, Jalen Ricard (pass catcher), Lynn Bowden, Jr., Devontae Booker.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) May 12, 2020
Booker previously spent four seasons with the Denver Broncos but found himself recently scrapping for playing time behind Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The Broncos also recently signed Melvin Gordon, leaving no room for Booker but clearing the way for Las Vegas to pick him up.
Booker should be a solid depth piece after the Silver and Black lost DeAndre Washington to the Kansas City Chiefs. Jalen Richard figures to once again be the pass-catching back while Lynn Bowden will likely get snaps in the backfield, but Booker can capably spell Jacobs when needed.
It is a good low-risk move for the Raiders who need to keep Jacobs fresh for the duration of the season. Gruden has plenty of new weapons to work with and it will be exciting to see how he plans on deploying them.