As the impasse between the Raiders and running back Josh Jacobs lingers, the Raiders seem to be trying to spark a belated trade market.
By leaking multiple stories about their supposed lack of interest in trading Jacobs.
It started on Wednesday, with the confusing, out-of-the-blue claim that the Raiders have shown no interest in trading Jacobs. We called BS on that one, explaining that the Raiders have shown no interest in trading for Jacobs because no one has shown interest in trading for Jacobs.
Then came a report from Vic Tafur, who covers the Raiders for TheAthletic.com, that someone did show interest. One team. The Dolphins.
The report doesn't say when the inquiry came. Before July 17, when he could have been signed to a long-term deal? Before the draft, when they took De'Von Achane with a third-round pick? There are no specifics other than the Dolphins made an inquiry.
Cameron Wolfe, who covers the Dolphins for ESPN.com, chimed in with his own version — which was either sparked by seeing Tafur's report or which was separately leaked to him in order to bolster the credibility of the story. Tweeted Wolfe: "Dolphins made an exploratory call on 2022 rushing champ Josh Jacobs but talks didn’t go far, per source. Raiders told teams they don’t plan to trade Jacobs. Miami has some interest in elite RB trade market — Jonathan Taylor, Jacobs — but only up to a certain price, I’m told."
Again, there's no specific information about when the call was made. Those kinds of calls are made all the time. If all the Raiders have gotten for Jacobs was one exploratory call for Jacobs, there was no trade market for Jacobs.
Bolstering this conclusion is the fact that the Dolphins have been interested in plenty of running backs this offseason, if they can get them for a bargain. They wanted Dalvin Cook, but they weren't going to pay more than whatever they were willing to pay. They're reportedly interested in Jonathan Taylor, but it surely won't be for a significant draft pick and/or a significant contract.
So why is all of this coming out now? The Raiders quite possibly are trying to get someone to call, to make them an offer, to take Jacobs off their hands. It's quite possibly a precursor to what the next move could be.
Removal of the tag.
Some have tried to shout down this take by saying we're the only ones raising it. So? The tailback market has cratered. No one else would pay Josh Jacobs $10.1 million for 2023 with no commitment for 2024. So why are the Raiders willing to do it?
The truth could be they aren't. The truth could be that the football operation is hoping owner Mark Davis will come to that conclusion on his own.
One step toward that goal could be to try to clumsily generate some eleventh-hour trade interest in Jacobs. Once that doesn't happen, it could then be time to seriously consider what should not be a difficult decision at this point. Remove the tender. Save the $10.1 million. Spend it on guys who are present and committed to the cause.
We've previously argued Jacobs should pounce on the tender, especially in the aftermath of the contracts signed by Ezekiel Elliott and Cook. So, yes, Jacobs should take it. Precisely because the Raiders should rescind it. The market currently doesn't justify it.
Bottom line? After months with no reporting regarding the possibility of a Jacobs trade, there's a flurry of items regarding the team's reluctance to move Jacobs. And those might be aimed at trying to persuade someone to make a run at changing the team's mind.
If that doesn't happen — if the phone ultimately doesn't ring, and if Jacobs persists in staying away — Mark Davis could roll out of bed one morning in the next two weeks and realize that $10.1 million in cash and cap space could be better spent elsewhere. If he shares that observation with coach Josh McDaniels and/or G.M. Dave Ziegler, Davis quite possibly will get no opposition.