Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is unhappy with his contract, and has left the team as a result.
As is the case with running backs around the NFL, Josh Jacobs and the Las Vegas Raiders are playing a game of chicken. Jacobs is scheduled to make just over $10 million this season, as he was signed to the franchise tag.
The running back position brings with it tremendous risk, and as the NFL has become a passing league, organizations have begun to view the leaders in the ground games as otherwise interchangeable. Fair or not, running backs tend to phase out by their late 20’s, so giving a player like Jacobs or Saquon Barkley a long-term deal doesn’t make a ton of sense from an organizational perspective when a short-term option exists.
For Jacobs, however, this is unfortunate. He’s entering his age-26 season and eligible for a long-term extension. As of now, he’s unlikely to receive it, and Jacobs knows that.
Raiders: Josh Jacobs leaves Las Vegas amid contract dispute
Over the weekend, Jacobs was one of a group of top-tier running backs who held a conference call to discuss, in part, self worth and contracts among the position group.
It’s been a half-decade since Le’Veon Bell sat out a full season with the Pittsburgh Steelers because he didn’t want to play on the franchise tag for the second straight year. In Bell’s absence, the Steelers running game thrived with James Conner, setting in motion the consideration that running backs are a dime a dozen. Since 2018, their value has decreased every season. Now, it’s at the forefront of the next collective bargaining agreement, and something the NFLPA must consider given the workload of backs around the league.
Jacobs and Barkley are just the last players to play hardball. We’ll see if they’re willing to go the lengths of Bell, who came to regret his decision years later.