Compelling Reasons Why the Raiders' Lamont Jordan Might Stay
Jordan missed most of last year and in 2006, but has been in 97 regular season games over the past seven years. Its only in the last two he's been MIA, but his production in 2005 seems a long time ago.
Jordan signed as a free agent from the Jets in 2005, snagging a five year deal worth $27.5 million. His agent, Alvin Keels stated at the time Jordan would receive $11 million guaranteed and $17.8 million over the first three years.
Immediately Jordan showed production in 05', finishing his first year in with 1,025 yds, 11 TD's and 70 catches for another 500+, all in just 14 games.
Not earth shattering, but a vast improvement over 2004's rushing attack which garnered only 1,295 on 328 during their entire 5-11 season.
Their leading back that year was Amos Zereoue gaining only 425 yds on 112 carries and scoring three TD's.
Though Jordan saw limited action in the four years behind Jets super star Curtis Martin, he managed a 4.9 yd average over that time with 93 carries for 479 yds and two TD's.
After 2005, Jordan seemed like a definite upgrade.
He ran into trouble week nine on November 19th 2006, tearing his medial collateral ligament in a game against Kansas City, and missed the remainder of the season. Some fans point to his average yards per carry at 3.9 as a knock on Jordan, but honestly, if you look at Oakland's line woes in 06', it wasn't just the passing game that suffered.
Many fans weren't expecting much from Lamont in 2007 and that seemed reinforced by Oakland's signing of former Colt running back Dominic Rhodes, even though Rhodes would sit out the first four games of the season for a DUI conviction.
The addition of Rhodes seemed to fire up Jordan and despite voicing displeasure about the implementation of Tom Cable's stretch and cut blocking scheme, he started the year with a some solid numbers.
Posting 350 yds on 69 hand offs and two TD's Jordan also contributed 12 grabs for 121 yds all in the first three games of the year.
Then against Miami, Jordan seemed to throw his back out on a run late in the 2nd quarter. Up till that point Jordan had gained 74 yds on 15 carries.
Most people don't acknowledge or realize Jordan threw his back out in camp during pre season in an ill advised Home run derby, but played and played well those first three games despite the pain.
Unfortunate for him, but Oakland none the less enjoyed the 1,000 yds rushing success of his replacement Justin Fargas and lead many to speculate Jordan's demise.
To most, the selection of Darren Mcfadden with the 4th overall pick in the 2008 draft all but sealed it, yet, Jordan remains. For now...
Rumors swirling about football forums indicate some feel the Denver Broncos may be interested in Jordan, and those posters are just about equally divided as to whether Jordan playing there would help or hurt the division rival Raiders.
Preliminarily it looks as if he can run the ball and have success in the ZBS Denver also employs. With Denver, the 5-11, 230 lb Jordan could possibly again be effective even in a part time roll.
Factor in Jordan's production when healthy and he's not a bad back. In fact if he's healthy, he could have a good year.
Jordan wouldn't be asked to carry the entire load in 08'. With the addition of Arkansas phenom McFadden, Fargas' new contract and potential contributor Michael Bush coming on line, Oakland could have some good depth in the back field.
Some would say that's too many backs and the roster space could be used elsewhere, but with an offense most assume is looking to improve upon and exploit its 6th overall rushing performance in 2007, a spare back at the right price would help keep pressure off rookie starting quarterback Jamarcus Russell by providing insurance the ground game would keep going even with inevitable injuries.
Fargas hasn't played an entire season at the pro level yet, McFadden has earned a reputation for off field issues that could see him in trouble with the league at some point, and Bush hasn't taken a game snap in two years.
Lamont has had trouble staying healthy too, but in a rotation, his, and everyone elses odds of doing that, would likely improve.
If Oakland keeps Jordan, its backfield would likely consist of two big backs, Jordan and Bush, and two faster backs in Fargas and Mcfadden.
The benefit would of course be having a spare in case of injury, but it would also allow the Raiders to rest each back if it chose to not only during a game, but for halves or entire games allowing players to heal, reduce wear and tear and theoretically, be more productive.
At issue with some is the $9.7 million due Jordan through out 2009, which includes a $4.75 million dollar roster bonus this year.
There is a very real possibility Jordan could re work his contract to remain with the Raiders not only because he's here and familiar with the team, but because of Shaun Alexander.
Whether Alexander has priced himself out of the market is for others to decide, but the fact he's not signed already bodes poorly for Jordan. Teams don't appear to be in such desperate need of a running back to crack wide the vaults, and now with today's news of another 1,000 yd back on the market in troubled Travis Henry, Jordan has more competition not simply for a contract, but a roster spot with teams.
Whether Jordan would be able to land a similarly large contract is anyone's guess, but considering his last two years in Oakland, probably not, begging the question, if he's going to take a pay cut, why not do it in Oakland?
Fans have posted concern over the Broncos release of Henry today, feeling Jordan may go on to success at division rival Denver who, despite the recent signing of running back Michael Pittman, may still be in need of another back. Whether they are desperate to pay big money for Jordan is another matter.
Keeping Jordan with Oakland takes the burden off him to be an every down back, might let him showcase his wares for potential suitors next year, all the while revaluing his stock and keeping him more than likely healthier for interested parties in 09. It could also give Oakland two sets of backs. Jordan / Fargas and Mike Bush / DMC, or any combination.
With an offense likely predicated on the run this year, considering three of the current backs injury history, and the fact Oaklands O coordinator Gregg Knapp has recently stated "You can't have too many running backs," there is a case for Jordan re-working and staying through '08.
For now, like most of Oakland's reloaded team, his status continues to be a mystery.
To answer the question, "Do we want Lamont?" the answer is probably "Yes," but only at a reduced price.
For the time being, Lamont is with Oakland and his imminent departure may not be as foregone a conclusion as many seem to think.
Despite the past two seasons injuries, most who run the numbers agree, when healthy, Jordan can still play. The larger question as of this moment for Lamont and Raider fans is, will he be doing it in Silver and Black?
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