Why Raiders ought to mould offense round RB Josh Jacobs in QB-rich AFC West

With Josh McDaniels searching for a franchise quarterback after transferring on from Derek Carr, the Las Vegas Raiders ought to make All-Pro operating again Josh Jacobs the engine of this staff’s offense transferring ahead. 

McDaniels coaches in a division with ultra-talented throwers in Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert and Russell Wilson, the latter of whom has a brand new head coach in offensive guru Sean Payton now with the Denver Broncos. 

The Raiders final received the AFC West in 2002. The Chiefs have received the division for seven straight seasons. Something wants to vary for Las Vegas to constantly compete for a postseason berth on this division dominated by the defending Super Bowl champs.

After releasing their underperforming franchise quarterback (Carr signed a four-year, $150 million cope with the New Orleans Saints), the Raiders will now attempt to discover a new QB in free company or via the draft. There’s hypothesis that McDaniels has curiosity in veteran Jimmy Garoppolo, whom McDaniels coached with the New England Patriots, or will attempt to re-sign backup Jarrett Stidham in free company.

The Raiders additionally maintain the No. 7 total choose and are doing in depth background work on first-round QB prospects like C.J. Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson. 

“We’re going to do everything we can do to evaluate every player at that position, both in the draft and free agency and try to do what we can do to improve the room,” McDaniels mentioned on the mix about discovering a brand new quarterback. “I mean, there’s certainly going to be a number of players added at that position. Right now, only Chase Garbers is under contract. So we’ll look at everything we can look at, but the goal eventually is to try to have a young player here, one that’s going to be a Raider for a long time.”

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The Raiders will possible have a second-tier veteran or maybe the least-experienced quarterback within the AFC West for the 2023 season. That’s why, in case you are McDaniels, you construct your offense — a minimum of within the brief time period — round essentially the most full again within the league. 

Jacobs led the NFL in dashing (1,653) and whole yards from scrimmage (2,053) in 2022, incomes first-team All-Pro honors. That’s after McDaniels and basic supervisor Dave Ziegler declined to choose up the fifth-year choice on Jacobs’ rookie deal final season.

So this week Las Vegas put the non-exclusive franchise tag on Jacobs. The two sides now have till July 17 to achieve a long-term deal, which might be good for the Raiders. Let Jacobs, who’s solely 25 years previous, carry the offense for a pair seasons whereas McDaniels and Ziegler determine the quarterback place.

In a division by which the remainder of the groups wish to air it out, the Raiders can compete with an old-school offense led by Jacobs and a protection led by Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones that may get after the quarterback. The Raiders can management the tempo and clock, enjoying stay away from gifted signal-callers like Mahomes and Herbert. 

Leaning into that philosophy would require a change of method for McDaniels. As the longtime offensive coordinator in New England, he all the time had stability however by no means actually relied on one operating again to hold the load for the Patriots.

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But as McDaniels skilled within the second half of final season, letting Jacobs set the tone can result in profitable soccer. After beginning the season 2-7, the Raiders completed the yr 4-4. Over these final eight video games, Jacobs averaged 104 dashing yards a contest, together with a franchise-record 229 dashing yards in an additional time win on the highway towards the Seattle Seahawks in Week 12. 

Jacobs is one among three operating backs to obtain the franchise tag from NFL groups this offseason, together with Saquon Barkley by the New York Giants and Tony Pollard by the Dallas Cowboys. If the edges do not come to phrases, the franchise tag for operating backs ends in a $10.1 million one-year deal. And NFL groups are cautious of giving growing older backs long-term offers on a second contract due to sturdiness considerations, together with the plentiful quantity of gifted rushers out there within the upcoming draft.

For each Ezekiel Elliott chosen within the first spherical, groups can discover an undrafted gem like Austin Ekeler who can present worthwhile manufacturing at a reduced worth.

However, the Raiders have maybe the perfect runner within the NFL in Jacobs, who can also catch the ball out of the backfield. Jacobs is totally different. He provides the Raiders an id on offense and is among the hardest employees on the staff. 

Last yr Las Vegas traded for star receiver Davante Adams and signed him to a profitable extension, so he’ll proceed to get a lion’s share of the touches within the passing sport. The Raiders even have playmakers in tight finish Darren Waller and Pro Bowl slot receiver Hunter Renfrow.

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Las Vegas has about $39 million in cap area in keeping with Over the Cap, so the staff could make some strikes in free company whereas additionally providing Jacobs some piece of thoughts within the type of a contract extension. 

The Raiders have the potential to flourish on offense. They simply want an environment friendly quarterback to function a distributor, getting the ball to the staff’s playmakers.

And the principle playmaker needs to be Josh Jacobs.

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, overlaying the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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