Should the Raiders replace Josh Jacobs with Saquon Barkley?

Dec 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26)
Dec 11, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Could the Las Vegas Raiders look to replace one big-name running back with another? Josh Jacobs has spent his entire career with the Raiders up this point, but he's headed for free agency, so the possibility exists that he could ink elsewhere.

If he does, the Raiders will need to find a replacement, and according to Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, they're a potential suitor for Saquon Barkley. Barkley played the first six years of his career with the New York Giants, but the Giants didn't designate Barkley as a franchise player for 2024, which means that he's also headed for free agency for the first time in his career.

That's where the Raiders come in. From Leonard:

"And while it’s still possible Barkley could return to the Giants after testing the waters, it’s more likely that he will be playing somewhere else in 2024.

"Sources view the Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles as some primary potential suitors who have the resources, need and interest to possibly sign Barkley."

Right off the top, it's worth pointing out that the Raiders are far from Barkley's only potential suitor. The Ravens, Eagles, Bears and Patriots were all also mentioned, and other interested teams are likely to emerge in the coming weeks.

Production comparison

Barkley and Jacobs actually put up very similar numbers last season. Barkley played in one more game than Jacobs and had more total rushing yards (962 to 805), but both players rushed for exactly six touchdowns, and both had a very similar yards per attempt average -- 3.9 for Barkley, 3.5 for Jacobs.

They were also both pretty active as pass-catchers out of the backfield. Barkley had 41 receptions for 280 receiving yards, while Jacobs had 37 receptions for 296 yards. Barkley also added four receiving touchdowns, while Jacobs didn't have any. In other words, the two backs could be used in a very similar manner.

The two players are also pretty close in age with Barkley, 27, being almost exactly a year older then Jacobs. Both should have several productive seasons still in front of them.

The Raiders will clearly have competition for Barkley's services. There's certainly no guarantee he'll be playing in Las Vegas next season. But, he could prove to be a very viable replacement for Jacobs, so the Raiders' reported interest is logical.