Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, the 24th overall pick in the draft, has yet to sign a rookie contract. Reportedly, there’s a chance he won’t sign before training camp opens.
Vic Tafur of TheAthletic.com reports, citing unnamed league sources, that “negotiations have not been going well” between the Raiders and Jacobs, and that "[t]here is a growing sentiment that Jacobs will not be at camp when the rookies report on July 23.”
PFT has obtained a breakdown of the contracts signed to date by all 2019 draft picks. Examination of the structure of the contracts signed by other players in the first round hints strongly at the actual problem. All players who were picked before Jacobs and who have signed contracts (ending with Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard at No. 23) will receive fully-guaranteed payments for all four years. No players picked after Jacobs (starting with Ravens receiver Marquise Brown at No. 25) have gotten fully-guaranteed contracts. (The first three years of Brown’s contract are fully guaranteed, and $1.9 million of the $2.1 million he’s due to earn in 2022 is fully guaranteed.)
In 2018, the last rookie who received a fully-guaranteed contract was selected at No. 22. The 24th player selected in 2018, receiver D.J. Moore of the Panthers, obtained three years of fully-guaranteed pay, and $1.7 million of the $2 million he’s due to make in 2021 also was fully guaranteed.
There’s not much else that can be negotiated in these contracts; the issue of offset language for the guaranteed money rarely if ever comes up beyond the top 10. Here, the most logical explanation is that Jacobs wants all four years to be fully guaranteed, and that the Raiders are pushing to make part of the 2002 non-guaranteed.
Agents often will take a stand on issues like this for marketing purposes. This year, Tytus Howard’s agent managed to get a fully-guaranteed contract even though the 23rd player taken a year ago didn’t. Jacobs’ agent may be simply trying to move that line of demarcation one spot farther down the list.
If that’s the reason for the impasse, the two sides are fighting over whether the last $300,000 or so of Jacobs’ salary in 2022 will or won’t be fully guaranteed, in the event he becomes a bust and no longer is playing for the team by then. If that’s the holdup, it would make plenty of sense for the Raiders to blink -- and that may be precisely what Jacobs’ agent is counting on.