The Raiders didn’t draft running back Jalen Richard back in 2016, nor did they sign him immediately after the amateur selection process. The Southern Mississippi product was a tryout player inked after rookie minicamp, but quickly rose up the ranks to become an instant impact player.
Richard became one during the 2016 playoff run as a receiver out of the backfield and a quality pass protector. He proved a tough runner as well, both between the tackles and in open space.
Richard has given the Raiders quality throughout the past four seasons and was rewarded with a two-year contract extension on Wednesday morning, the team announced. It's initially worth $7 million with $4.6 million guaranteed, though he can make $8 million with incentives.
NFL Network was first to report the news.
A league source confirmed Richard agreed on terms of the deal, keeping him in silver and black as the team transitions to Las Vegas next season.
Richard is the fourth impending Raiders free agent to get locked up before hitting the open market in March. Richie Incognito, Denzelle Good and Nevin Lawson have also agreed to new deals since the season ended.
Richard has also proven capable in the clutch time and again, an invaluable trait for someone often on the field in two-minute drill situations. He has 1,170 yards on 233 professional carries, a 5.0-yard average that shows his quality. He also had 1,380 receiving yards on 160 catches.
Richard has a role in the Raiders backfield behind feature back Josh Jacobs, though the position group still has some question marks. DeAndre Washington was Jacobs’ primary backup last season, but he’s headed for unrestricted free agency and his return is uncertain at best. The Raiders were looking for a bigger, bruising back near last season’s end but never truly found one. It’s possible that role gets filled by someone new in free agency or the NFL draft.
Jacobs fractured his shoulder midway through last season but the injury didn’t require surgery to repair. He’ll be ready for the offseason program as the Raiders try to strengthen a running game headed in the right direction.