Whether or not star running back Josh Jacobs suits up for the Las Vegas Raiders this season remains one of the biggest questions surrounding the team as they near their first preseason game. Jacobs remains away from the team during training camp and has refused to sign the franchise tender.
The expectation is that Jacobs won’t be appearing with the Raiders during training camp or preseason, but whether that stretches into the regular season remains to be seen. Very few backs have gone that far and one of them, Melvin Gordon, has openly advised Jacobs against going that route.
But there also remains another possibility, which is the Raiders rescinding that franchise tag and allowing Jacobs to be a free agent. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Raiders could consider doing that the closer we get to Week 1, transcription via Matt Johnson of Sportsnaut:
“The question here is, could the Raiders potentially rescind that $10.1 million tag, ultimately leaving Jacobs on a free agent market that, as we’ve seen from Cook, really isn’t that lucrative. That’s the danger of potentially having that tag rescinded. Of course, the Raiders would prefer Josh Jacobs just to show up and play. But if it feels like it’s getting closer to Week 1 and that’s not happening, that’s one thing we should be watching for.”
The Raiders rescinding the tag would be an unfortunate end to this saga on both ends. The Raiders would be losing a centerpiece of their offense who led the NFL in rushing last year and was a First-Team All-Pro. And while Jacobs would hit the open market and be free to sign anywhere, it would come with very little time for him to decide before the season, not to mention the market not being kind to backs so far this offseason.
Dalvin Cook, who has four straight seasons of at least 1,100 yards and 43 touchdowns rushing touchdowns over that span, was released by the Minnesota Vikings this offseason after demanding a trade. Despite being one of the best backs in the league, Cook still has yet to sign on with a team as franchises are moving away from paying top dollar for running backs.
From a financial standpoint, it likely would be best for Jacobs to sign the franchise tender for $10.1 million. But if he continues to refuse to do so, he could wind up taking the same risks for another team, still without that long-term security, but for far less money.