Would Raiders rescind Josh Jacobs franchise tag, sign Dalvin Cook?
The CBA giveth, and the CBA potentially taketh away.
Under the rules of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Raiders used the franchise tag to keep running back Josh Jacobs in place for at least another season, at $10.1 million. The Raiders also could, under those same rules, rescind the franchise tag.
Would they? If Jacobs won’t accept their best offer on a long-term deal (the deadline for finalizing a multi-year contract is July 17), it would make sense to consider their options. And they could, in theory, pursue Dalvin Cook as a potential replacement for Jacobs.
There’s a tangible link between the Raiders and Cook. Raiders running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu worked in that same position for the Vikings from 2017 -- Cook’s rookie year -- through 2021. That’s five years of experience, between position coach and player. It gives the Raiders a level of information and intelligence about Cook that most other teams don’t have.
It would still be tricky to pull it off. First, the Raiders would have to move discreetly; if Jacobs were to catch wind of the potential signing of Cook, Jacobs could accept the tender, making the $10.1 million fully guaranteed.
Then again, Jacobs might relish the opportunity to hit the market. But what would he get at this stage of the offseason? The money isn’t there, not like it was in March. He could hard pressed to get $10.1 million for 2023 from another team.
Jacobs wants to take a stand for the running backs that will come after him. It’s a noble aim, but it’s not his fight. He didn’t create the system, and he won’t fix it. He should get what he can while he can.
The message to future running backs is clear. Don’t play running back. Move to a different position, one with a lower injury risk, longer careers, and more money.
Running backs can’t get paid what they’re worth in large part because the supply of capable running backs outweighs the demand. So maybe the supply needs to shrink. If more great athletes migrate away from the running back position, that could occur.
Again, that won’t help Jacobs. And Jacobs can’t help anyone but himself. He should take seriously the question of whether the Raiders will do what has happened at least three times before -- the application and then removal of the franchise tag.
It would not be a popular move if the Raiders do it, internally or externally. But if they could promptly replace Jacobs with Cook, the P.R. blow would be softened. And if Cook performs at a high level for the Raiders, Jacobs would quickly be forgotten.