HENDERSON, Nev. – Running back Josh Jacobs, fresh off his first career NFL rush title and heading to free agency, said at locker cleaning day Monday that he would like to return to the Las Vegas Raiders next season if he and the team can agree to a contract.
“To me, it has to make sense,” he said, referring to a potential new contract, that is, dollars and cents.
“But that’s obviously where I want to be. Coming in, I remember sitting down with [defensive end] Maxx [Crosby] and all those guys talking about the Raiders organization and culture and wanting to be part of the change. I still feel like that, so hopefully I’ll come back.”
While Crosby was a fourth-round pick in 2019 and signed a four-year, $99 million extension last spring, Jacobs was the second of the Raiders’ three first-round picks in 2019, No. 24 overall, after defensive end Clelin Ferrell. , who was fourth, and ahead of safety Johnathan Abram, who went 27th.
None of them had their fifth-year options taken by the new Raiders regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels last offseason. Jacobs, however, responded with a career year, even though the team sank and finished 6-11 a year after entering the playoffs with a 10-7 record.
In rushing for 1,653 yards, Jacobs became the first Raiders player to lead the league in rushing since Marcus Allen rushed for 1,759 yards in his 1985 NFL MVP season. He is the third in history of the franchise to accomplish the feat as Clem Daniels led the AFL with 1,099 rushing yards in 1963.
Jacobs, selected to his second career Pro Bowl, also led the NFL with 93 first downs and 2,053 total scrimmage yards.
Still, Jacobs played down personal accomplishments.
“I mean, I guess it feels good,” he said. “I don’t really feel any different. Obviously it’s a testament to the team and the guys that have helped me along the way. So it’s really great to be able to experience that with them. But for me, personally, it’s just, whatever. For real.
McDaniels, meanwhile, seemed confident that Jacobs would return to the team.
“Obviously JJ’s performance was a huge positive for us,” McDaniels said. “I have tremendous respect and admiration for him as a person and as a player and he kind of embodies everything we want a Raider to be.
“Dave and I have talked about it; JJ and I have had private conversations about this stuff. I think all of this will play out in due time. But I love him and would like him to continue being a Raider . “
It was a society of mutual admiration two days after the Raiders’ season ended with a 31-13 loss to the AFC West champion and No. 1 seed Kansas City Chiefs.
And Jacobs referenced the coach who drafted him from Alabama four years ago.
“Obviously, [Jon] Gruden is a great football mind but these guys, man, take it to another level just in terms of how they explain things and how they use certain guys,” Jacobs said. “So just learning their offensive playbook, learning the terminology, and then taking it and putting my own little twist on it, it’s really fun.
“Our way of working, [this is] definitely the best workgroup I’ve had since I’ve been in the NFL. It’s just about putting the little pieces together right now and identifying what those little pieces are, identifying each player’s role and just trying to execute it to the fullest.”
A multi-year deal would likely be preferred by Jacobs. But if the Raiders choose to impose a one-year franchise tag on him, OverTheCap.com predicts it will be a relatively modest $10.1 million for running backs next season, a number that will certainly increase when the 2023 salary cap is announced.
Besides an upcoming decision on Jacobs, it’s almost certain quarterback Derek Carr, the team’s starter since his 2014 rookie season and the holder of most franchise passing records, won’t return after being laid off. on the bench with two games to go. He has been left out of the squad by “mutual” decision for the past two weeks.
Jacobs was asked his take on Carr.
“The biggest thing I take away from Derek is that he’s just the great person he is,” Jacobs said. “Me and Derek have been to church a couple of times together and things like that and just to see him loving and supporting, that’s the thing I’ll remember the most about him. He’s just an awesome guy, for de TRUE.”