Jacobs had initially held out for the entire preseason after he refused to sign the $10.1 million franchise tag the Raiders placed on him after the 2022 season. Jacobs led the NFL in scrimmage yards last season with 2,053 but was unable to agree on a long-term extension with the Raiders before the deadline this summer.
Speculation around Jacobs' return to the team began Monday, with a report from Vinny Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal saying the Raiders expected Jacobs to join the team before Week 1. The Miami Dolphins reportedly inquired about Jacobs' availability in a trade, but the Raiders reportedly shut those talks down pretty quickly, according to NFL Network's Cameron Wolfe.
I’m back 😈😏
— Josh Jacobs (@iAM_JoshJacobs) August 26, 2023
This is a similar situation to the one that unfolded with New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, who also refused to sign his franchise tag before he agreed to a restructured one-year deal worth up to $11 million.
Jacobs and Barkley were the two main players who helped opened the discussion about running back compensation in the NFL. The issue, of course, was neither they nor the rest of the players at their position had any leverage in their contract negotiations and therefore were always at the mercy of ownership, unless they decided to miss regular season games.
But even with Jacobs' and Barkley's situations seemingly resolved — until next offseason — the bigger question now becomes what happens to Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor? He requested and was granted permission to seek a trade after his relationship with Colts owner Jim Irsay disintegrated.
We finally have clarity on Jacobs for the 2023 season. He won't voluntary miss any games, so there's no worry about his availability at the beginning of the season.
But since Jacobs did miss a lot of team workouts, it's unclear how much the Raiders will feature him early in the year. It's impossible to know what Jacobs' conditioning is like or his understanding of the new wrinkles of the offense since he hasn't been with the team for awhile. Jacobs has also never played with new Las Vegas quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, which could diminish his value in the first few games of the year.
The Raiders still have 2022 fourth-rounder Zamir White, who could see more action if head coach Josh McDaniels doesn't feel comfortable giving Jacobs his normal workload. Jacobs saw a league-high 393 touches this past season and scored 12 total touchdowns.