The Las Vegas Raiders go into the 2024 offseason with plenty of big decisions to make, including in free agency. New general manager does have some good salary cap space to work with, and if he can work a few other contracts down, and release some players, that number could grow immensly.
Every year, teams have to decide whether or not to franchise tag players, a move that is often is not the best way to do business. However, there are some players the team places the tag on in hopes of locking them up with a long-term deal, and the Raiders are no different.
Recently, Pro Football Focus put out a list of one franchise tag candidate for each NFL team, and for the Raiders, the choice was an easy one.
Raiders should look to sign Josh Jacobs long-term
Just as was the case last offseason, Josh Jacobs is the big-name player about to hit free agency, and the Raiders will have to decide what to do with him in 2024, and in the long run. Jacobs has emerged as one of the best running backs in football since the Raiders took him in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, and if he finishes out his career in the Silver and Black, could set numerous team records.
The issue is, when it comes to running backs, they do not have the kind of shelf life that other position groups have. As guys start to enter their late-20s, they see a significant drop off, which makes teams leery about giving them long-term deals.
The good thing with Jacobs is that he is still fairly young, and even though his 2023 season ended with an injury, should still figure into the Raiders long-term plans. Jacobs led the NFL in rushing yards in 2022, and has a great relationship with current head coach Antonio Pierce, so the team is likely to try and get him under contract for at least next season.
Making a move for Jacobs long-term could be considered a questionable one due to the position he plays, but Jacobs is not your typical running back. Jacobs is a strong contributor on both the ground, and through the air, and with a question mark at quarterback, the Raiders cannot afford to turn the page at the position next season.
Looking at the other AFC West teams, PFF named Lloyd Cushenberry for the Denver Broncos, Chris Jones for the Kansas City Chiefs, and nobody for the Los Angeles Chargers.