Training camp is set to begin for the Las Vegas Raiders and All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs will not be in attendance. With the deadline for franchise-tagged players to sign a long-term deal has come and gone, a frustrated Jacobs will not be with the team for the time being.
Of course, this isn’t much of a surprise as Jacobs’ frustration with the Raiders has been well-known throughout the offseason. The Raiders have continued to speak positively about Jacobs and their belief that he will ultimately join the team, but it almost definitely won’t be until right before the regular season begins.
There was recently a Zoom meeting held between many star running backs including Jacobs, Nick Chubb, Christian McCaffery and Saquon Barkley among others to talk about the financial situation of the position. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Jacobs gave off the impression that he won’t be at training camp or preseason for the Raiders during that meeting:
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, participants in last night’s Zoom call involving disgruntled running backs got the impression that Jacobs does not plan to show up for training camp or the preseason. Whether he actually refuses to collect game checks (at $561,111 each) remains to be seen.
The idea of Jacobs missing regular season games still seems unlikely. The last player to do this was Le’Veon Bell who sat out the entire 2018 season after being franchise tagged. But he never regained the form he showed prior to sitting out that year.
But Jacobs is rightfully frustrated with the Raiders. The franchise failed to pick up his fifth-year option, essentially forcing him into a prove-it year last season and he responded by leading the NFL in rushing yards and being named a First-Team All-Pro. But instead of being rewarded with a new deal, he got franchise tagged and still has no long-term security.
It is indicative of the state of running backs as a whole right now hence the Zoom call that was held amongst the stars at the position. With the league going in a more pass-heavy direction, teams have been content with cheaper options at running back, and committee approaches overall, and most of the recent Super Bowl winners have succeeded with this approach.
Unfortunately, this has led to running backs being amongst the lowest-paid positions in the NFL despite the toll it takes on their bodies. Jacobs is crucial to the success of the Raiders this season, and the franchise will get the chance to see if other backs can step up because he will almost certainly not be on the field anytime soon.