So how do the Las Vegas Raiders replace Josh Jacobs?

As we inch closer to the end of the preseason, Las Vegas Raiders star running back Josh Jacobs is still not with the team. So how do they replace him?
12th Annual NFL Honors - Arrivals
12th Annual NFL Honors - Arrivals / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Where’s Josh Jacobs? The Las Vegas Raiders’ star running back remains absent from the team. Despite rumors that he will report before week one, there is no real sign of this hold-out ending.

It’s time to start wondering how the Raiders will survive without Jacobs. NFL executives clearly sent the signal to running backs this offseason that GMs will not be prioritizing their services. We are entering the last week of the preseason with Jacobs and Colts running back Jonathan Taylor not in their respective camps.

Plus, Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt remain unsigned.

Without an end in sight for Jacobs’ hold-out, are the Raiders positioned to replace his production? Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards (1653 yards) and yards from scrimmage (2053 yards). He became the first Raiders’ running back to lead the league in both categories since Marcus Allen did it in 1985.

Josh Jacobs was responsible for more than 33% of the Raiders’ offense in 2022.

How do the Raiders replace Josh Jacob?

Quite simply, no. The Raiders do not have the solution to this problem on the roster. Currently, Zamir White looks to be the opening day starter. As a rookie last season, White carried the ball 23 times for 83 yards which is exactly the same stat line he has through two preseason games.

The average yards per carry is more than a yard less than Jacobs’ from last season. Plus, White has only one catch so far in the preseason. Jacobs broke out in the passing game during the last two seasons with 53 catches in 2022 and 54 in 2021.

We can assume the plan is running back by committee. Ameer Abdullah should fill the role of the receiving back. Abdullah did catch 25 balls last season while only on the field for 16% of the offensive snaps.

The remaining running back spots are up in the air. Brandon Bolden, Damien Williams, and a group of young backs are vying for the positions. Last year, the Raiders carried five backs on their active roster. If Bolden and Williams get those spots, the Raiders would have three running backs, including Abdullah, over the age of 30. For a position that is considered over-the-hill at 28, I doubt they will spend that much roster space with all three players.

No matter which four or five players they keep on the active roster, Josh Jacobs would out produce them all by himself. So, what do the Raiders do? Start White with a flock of 30+ year old backups? Try to trade for Taylor? Sign Kareem Hunt?

Honestly, I’m still holding out hope that Jacobs is a disgruntled veteran who wants to skip the drudgery of training camp, preseason, and joint practices. That would be the often buried optimistic side of me. The realist comes out to remind me that Jacobs is holding fast and has little interest in returning to a team that he carried for most of last season without a fair deal.

The time for a long-term extension has passed, but I hope the Raiders either rescind the franchise tag to let him get paid elsewhere or give him a deal that makes him the highest-paid back in the league for this season.