The NFL’s leading rusher in 2022 could still be on the move.
The strange, confusing vibe around the Raiders and running back Josh Jacobs, coupled with the clear, unequivocal rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, keep the door open for the possibility of the Raiders rescinding the franchise tag and making Jacobs a free agent.
Until Jacobs accepts the one-year, $10.1 million salary, the Raiders can yank it away. It has happened three times in the past 20 years or so, with the Eagles doing it to linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, the Eagles doing it to defensive tackle Corey Simon, and the Panthers doing it to cornerback Josh Norman.
At this point, why wouldn’t the Raiders consider it? That $10.1 million can be allocated elsewhere, with a low-cost committee approach at tailback.
That’s how Raiders coach Josh McDaniels did it when he ran the offense in New England. They used multiple running backs, with the game plan dictating which player would get the most opportunities in any given game.
As one of their early orders of business, McDaniels and G.M. Dave Ziegler opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on Jacobs’s rookie deal. Although Jacobs responded with a great year, the McDaniels offense doesn’t favor a workhorse.
With Jacobs upset — and possibly inclined to take NFL Players Association president JC Tretter’s advice to create leverage by faking injuries — why wouldn’t the Raiders consider moving on?
If they know Jacobs plans to skip all of training camp and the preseason, the most cold-blooded move would be to wait until every other team’s roster is set in late August before pulling the tender. At that point, Jacobs would have a very hard time getting the money he could instantly get in Las Vegas.
Frankly, the circumstances should be enough to persuade Jacobs to take the $10.1 million bird in the hand. There might not even be $8 million in the bush, at this point. By the time Week One rolls around, there might not even be $6 million.
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