HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — Josh Jacobs took to social media Saturday to say, “I’m back,” after agreeing to a one-year deal to play for the Las Vegas Raiders this season.
The contract is worth up to $12 million, a person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team announced that Jacobs had signed but did not provide details on the terms.
Jacobs, who last season led the NFL in rushing with 1,653 yards, had been expected to sign with the Raiders rather than sit out the season and forfeit his salary, but his prolonged absence began to raise questions that finally were answered Saturday.
“I’ll say the same thing I’ve said for months. I love the player, and I love the person,” coach Josh McDaniels said after the Raiders’ 31-16 preseason loss at the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.
“I look forward to just acclimating him into our group,” McDaniels said. “There’s some new faces that he hasn’t quite met yet, and I know he’s eager to do that as well. Meant a lot to our team last year, is going to mean a lot to our team this year.”
Jacobs made clear early on he would be unhappy playing on a franchise tag, saying at the Pro Bowl that he would be a “hero turned villain.” Now that the two sides reached an agreement, Jacobs can focus on what should be another season in which the Raiders lean heavily on him.
McDaniels indicated during training camp that Jacobs likely would receive a similar workload as last season, when he had nearly 400 touches between rushing and receiving. McDaniels also said a player needs practice time to get up to speed before getting a complement of plays, so it’s quite possible Jacobs will be eased back on the field.
However, with two weeks to go before the Sept. 10 season opener at the AFC West rival Denver Broncos, Jacobs might have enough time to get reacclimated.
McDaniels said after the loss to the Cowboys he wasn’t ready to offer a timeline for when Jacobs will be ready.
“It’s going to be hard for me to say that until I have an opportunity to see him. His conditioning and just the way his body feels will play a role in that, too,” McDaniels said. “We’ll do the right thing, whatever the right thing is. If there needs to be a number of plays early in the season, then that’s it. If there’s not, then there’s not.”
Jacobs’ return brings clarity to the running backs room ahead of Tuesday, which is cutdown day, when NFL teams must slash their rosters to 53 players.
Zamir White, drafted in the fourth round last year, was the first-team running back in camp and could’ve put himself in position for far more than the 17 carries he received as a rookie. Nine-year veteran Ameer Abdullah was receiving second-team snaps.
Jacobs had wanted a multiyear contract, but he failed to reach an agreement with the Raiders before the July 17 deadline. That meant his options were to eventually sign the franchise tag tender, agree to a one-year deal separate of the tag or sit out the season.
By agreeing to the one-year contract, that means the topic of Jacobs’ long-term future in Las Vegas again will be an issue later this season, but for now those questions will be put on hold.