Changes to be made
With the offseason set to officially kick off in a couple of weeks, decision time for Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock is on the horizon. At just about every position, there are a handful of tough calls they need to make and running back is no different. Jacobs and Ingold are locked down for the next few years so there is no decision to make when it comes to their status with the team, however, the other two backs are an issue.
Both Richard and Washington have reached the end of their rookie contracts and both are set to become free agents in March. While bringing the duo back is certainly an option, it might be in the organization’s best interests to pick one and look elsewhere to replace the other.
Given Washington’s increased usage down the stretch of the season and better overall production than Richard, the latter has likely played his last game with the Silver and Black. Expecting the Southern Mississippi product to make a dramatic leap in year five and beyond by evolving into the offensive weapon many hoped he would become is just unrealistic at this point.
Letting him walk and bringing in a new face to potentially take over as the backup is in the organization’s best interests. At this point, Richard is who he is, a player with a lot of potential who just can’t put it all together on a consistent basis, and that’s not likely going change anytime soon.
Technically it’s not an addition since Washington has played for the team for four years now, but Las Vegas should certainly look to keep him in-house. Signing the veteran to a new contract won’t deter the team from adding another playmaker to the position group, and he was a decent second option for the team last season.
OverTheCap.com currently values the ball carrier at about $2.26 million per year and the team projects to have about $57 million in cap space, so it’s not like a new contract will be a financial burden.
With Richard out and Washington in, the Raiders could definitely turn towards the draft to fill their hole at running back. Ke’Shawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt is an option with one of the organization’s mid-round picks as The Draft Network ranks Vaughn 101st on their big board and Las Vegas holds picks 91 and 111 overall. Throughout 2019, Gruden was looking to add a bruising back to spell Jacobs and below is an expert from the former Commodore’s scouting report on TDN:
"Vaughn is quick to hit the hole, and swift through tight spaces. He runs behind his pads with churning legs, and powerful when he gets hit straight on. Rarely conceded momentum and fights through tacklers. Rarely loses speed through his change of direction. Vaughn has a powerful, violent stiff arm at the point of contact that punishes defenders. Nice vision once he gets into space, finding areas of the field that are void of defenders and working behind extra blockers. Can be flexed out to wide receiver and runs adept routes, especially in the short portion of the field. Makes easy, natural adjustment to passes and can get down near the turf to bring it in."