With one of their three first-round picks this spring, the Raiders drafted Alabama running back Josh Jacobs. Instantly, the Oakland running attack for 2019 looked promising.
A group led by Jacobs – along with Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, Doug Martin and Chris Warren III – could be among the deepest and best the Raiders have had in a long while.
And Jacobs, a versatile, hard-running back with the ability also to be a fine receiver, was seen as a terrific addition to the offense. In fact, he immediately was tabbed by oddsmakers in Las Vegas as one of the favorites to win the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Wrote the analytic website Pro Football Focus: "The do-it-all running back should be pumped carries and targets with little competition at the position in the Oakland offense. Where he’ll likely shine is around the goal line. Jacobs had the highest percentage of carries that resulted in first downs or touchdowns of any running back in college football last season."
But as the Raiders get closer to the opening of training camp this month, it’s looking possible that Jacobs will be a no-show.
As Vic Tafur of The Athletic reports, Jacobs is the only unsigned Raiders draft choice, and "negotiations have not been going well."
"There is a growing sentiment that Jacobs will not be at camp when rookies report on July 23 (the official start of camp – when veterans report – is three days later)," reported Tafur. "Rookie holdouts are rare in the NFL these days after the installment of a rookie wage scale, since contract and signing bonuses are predetermined. But there is still wiggle room regarding the payment schedule of the signing bonus and whether salary guarantees will have offsets. The bonus issue is apparently the hang-up between Jacobs and the Raiders."
As Jared Dublin of CBS Sports notes, it’s not a good situation for Oakland, a team that wants to get off to a running start after a 4-12 season.
"Jacobs was presumably selected in the first round with the idea that he was going to be a major part of the offense," wrote Dublin. "Having him unsigned when camp begins is not the best way to ensure that happens."