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Raiders don’t give Josh Jacobs fifth-year option

Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram also will be free agents in 2023

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Las Vegas Raiders at Cincinnati Bengals
Josh Jacobs
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

In the hours before making its first draft picks, the new Las Vegas Raiders regime made a loud statement about how they feel about Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock’s most important draft class.

New Las Vegas general manager Dave Ziegler made a statement on the team’s website on Friday morning announcing the team has declined the fifth-year option for 2019 first-round picks running back Josh Jacobs, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and safety Johnathan Abram. Therefore, all three players will be free agents after this season and they are all eligible to be given the franchise tag.

This was Ziegler’s statement: “With the May 2 deadline approaching, the Raiders have decided not to pick up the fifth-year options on Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram. We look forward to working with all three players and we will evaluate each situation individually moving forward.”

Monday is the deadline for teams to make the decision on the fifth-year options. On Thursday night, when speaking after the first round of the draft, new Las Vegas coach Josh McDaniels said the team would make an announcement in the coming days.

The only surprise, of course, is the fact that Jacobs wasn’t given the option. He has been a productive tailback and his option price was just more than $8 million. But with potential contracts for slot receiver Hunter Renfrow and tight end Darren Waller, every deal counts.

It probably came down to this regime not valuing running backs that greatly, which is a league-wide trend and why running backs often don’t get big second contracts.

Jacobs, who had 872 rushing yards in 2021, has missed seven games in his three-season career. He was the No. 24 pick in 2019 and was the key to the Khalil Mack trade.

Ferrell was a draft bust after being the No. 4 overall pick. He is now a backup. Abram, the No. 27 pick and the compensation in the Amari Cooper trade, has struggled on the field and has had trouble staying healthy. At the time of the 2019 draft, Mayock, fired in January, called Ferrell, Jacobs and Abram foundational pieces.

Now, they all can be entering their final season with the franchise. of course, the can always re-sign with the team, but this move indicates the franchise doesn’t currently highly value them for the future.

In theory, Jacobs could be a candidate for the franchise tag next March, but if a new deal for Renfrow doesn’t happen by then, he would be a more likely franchise-tag candidate.