2022 was a roller coaster year for Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. A new regime took over the franchise last year as Dave Zeigler was named general manager and brought Josh McDaniels along with him from the New England Patriots to become the head coach. One of the first moves they made was declining all of the fifth-year options for players on the roster, which included Josh Jacobs.
Many people assumed that McDaniels would bring the same kind of scheme to Las Vegas that he used in New England at the running back position. Multiple running backs were expected to be used as the Raiders signed Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah while drafting Zamir White in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
While that may have been the plan originally, this quickly turned into Josh Jacobs’ backfield. Having his fifth-year option declined seemingly motivated him as he was arguably the best running back in the NFL in 2022.
Josh Jacobs ran the ball 340 times for 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns, all of which were career-highs or tied a career-high. He added 53 receptions for 400 yards, leading the league in offensive touches and yards from scrimmage.
That resulted in Josh Jacobs earning his second Pro Bowl nomination and All-Pro First Team. There isn’t a better way for a player to enter unrestricted free agency than the 2019 first-round pick will be, as he is about to get paid.
Running backs have seen their market disappear in recent years as teams have devalued their position. But, when you perform at the level that Josh Jacobs did, there is still money to be made.
Las Vegas could still opt to keep him as they have the franchise tag at their disposal. However, given how much money they have committed to other skill position players such as Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, the team could opt to move on from Josh Jacobs despite the stellar season that he had.
If that occurs, the Philadelphia Eagles are a team to keep an eye on. Their own starter, Miles Sanders, is set to hit free agency in 2023 along with one of his backups, Boston Scott. It was no secret that the Eagles were looking to make an upgrade at the running back position ahead of the trade deadline as they were linked to Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara.
Josh Jacobs was dominant this season with the Raiders, but his efficiency could be taken to another level playing behind the Eagles’ top-ranked offensive line. The presence of Jalen Hurts would open up more running lanes than he ever saw with the Raiders, too.
Showing improvement every season in the passing game, Josh Jacobs would likely be seen as an upgrade over Sanders. He had a career season himself but has regressed as a pass catcher throughout his four seasons in the NFL.