The franchise tag window is coming to an end for eligible players throughout the league (February 21st-March 7th), and the Las Vegas Raiders have decided to use the non-exclusive tag on our All-Pro at RB for, what many hope throughout Raider Nation, the time being while a long-term deal is worked on behind the scenes.
All-Pro RB Josh Jacobs, fresh off a breakout season where he led the league in rushing yards with 1,653 with 12 rushing TDs, while amassing over 2,000 total yards of offense, is slated for a big payday. Jacobs market value, according to Spotrac, is worth $12.8M/year, with a long-term deal being the ideal solution for him and his party. The Raiders, however, are weighing the idea of using the non-exclusive franchise tag, which will pay Jacobs a fixed sum of $10.091M for one season. If the Raiders fail to lock in a deal with Jacobs, he will become an unrestricted free agent, where his market value may rise.
The Raiders are in the driver seat to retain their 2019 24th-overall draft pick after locking him up with the franchise tag, however, if the Raiders want a happy and motivated Jacobs coming into training camp, a long-term, lifetime deal must be decided between both parties.
To crystallize the idea that the Raiders are the sure-shot favorites to retain the All-Pro RB, Jacobs, in an interview with NBC’s Mike Florio and Chris Sims during Pro Bowl weekend, says this regarding a long term deal:
“I wanna be a Raider for life… I don’t wanna play this game too long, I wanna retire when I’m 30 while I’m still healthy and still able to play with my kids…”
Paying Josh Jacobs a long-term deal is well-deserved and should be priority #1 in this off-season period. Jacobs, according to Spotrac, has performed above the average in yards per game (80 vs. 77.81) and average touchdowns per game (.68 vs .64), in comparison to comparable RBs in his current market (newly paid RBs Aaron Jones, Nick Chubb, Dalvin Cook, and Joe Mixon) over the previous two seasons. Jacobs has also played in a higher percentage of games (93.94% vs. 88.28%) than the aforementioned RBs.
If the Raiders and Josh Jacobs can meet at a sweet spot in terms of a solid number, this can be advantageous for both parties. The Raiders retain a sturdy, reliable All-Pro talent, who wants nothing more than to retire as a Raider, while Josh Jacobs will receive his well-deserved payday, which will put him near the top of the market as highest paid at his position, just above the likes of Aaron Jones, Nick Chubb, and Dalvin Cook. Plus, if we’re talking about giving the man an extra $2.5-$3M over a longer period of time, the reward outweighs the risk.
Ideal Contract: 4-year, $54M ($13.5M/yr annually) 3rd highest paid RB in the market.
Now the question remains to be asked: how much is Josh Jacobs really asking for and how far are the Raiders front office willing to bend before their hand is forced, to where the franchise tag becomes the only option? I believe that question will be better answered, pending what happens to other free agent RB Saquon Barkley. Strategically, it is imperative for the Raiders to quickly ink a deal before Saquon hits the market or gets his money because this can potentially result in Jacobs’ projected market value to rise.
The clock is ticking.