By disregarding OTAs and refraining from participating in the training camp, Josh Jacobs defied the prevailing trend of running back salaries. Could his actions potentially set a new financial standard for players in his position?
In 2022, Jacobs secured the top spot in rushing statistics across the league. However, the Raiders chose to designate him with the franchise tag rather than offer a more lucrative contract. This decision came with a guaranteed $10.1 million salary. Despite this, Jacobs declined the offer and remained absent from the Raiders’ activities for several months.
Subsequently, the Raiders recently revealed an agreement with Jacobs for a one-year contract, amounting to $11.8 million for the running back, along with the possibility of an additional $200,000 in incentives for the year 2023.
This contract deal holds a historic significance in the NFL. According to NBC Sports, it marks the first instance in the three-decade history of the franchise tag that a team elevated the core salary offer during the final negotiation stage. In comparison, Saquon Barkley is set to receive more money overall, but the New York Giants did not revise the base salary. Instead, they augmented the one-year offer with incentives.
Josh Jacobs expressed his contentment with his substantial new salary through a simple tweet: “I’m back,” he shared on a Saturday morning.
Following this, Jacobs proceeded to share other tweets, one of which included a statement from team owner Mark Davis. ESPN’s Raiders beat reporter Paul Gutierrez mentioned that Davis conveyed his admiration for Jacobs: “I love him, I love Josh. He’s phenomenal. He was the heart of our team. He came to play every day. Resilient, resolute, and strong-willed… Imagine having 22 Josh Jacobs with that mindset – simply incredible.”
The Raiders initially selected Jacobs, the former standout from Alabama, as their first-round pick in the 2019 draft. In the previous year, he achieved an impressive rushing record of 1,653 yards. This marked his third consecutive season with over 1,000 yards.
While Christian McCaffrey, the star player for the 49ers, continues to hold the title for the highest-paid running back in the NFL with a $16 million salary for the season, Alvin Kamara of the Saints follows in second place with a salary of $15 million. Titans’ standout Derrick Henry ranks third, earning $12.5 million, and Nick Chubb of the Browns secures fourth place with a salary of $12.2 million.
Josh Jacobs has now moved ahead of the Packers’ Aaron Jones to claim fifth place, as Jones’ contract stipulates $11.5 million. Despite this, the running back position remains one of the least financially rewarded in the NFL. According to Spotrac, the average salary for a starting running back stands at $5.2 million.
With two weeks at his disposal to regain his optimal game shape, Jacobs is preparing for the Raiders’ season opener against the Broncos on September 10.