Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs affirmed his desire to remain in Sin City long term as he enters the final year of his contract.
"I'm a firm believer in the work that you put in is going to pay out for itself, and I had to be here either way," he said, per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. "And this is where I want to be. I didn't have no problem with it. It just gave me more of a reason to come in every day, gel with the guys and work."
The Raiders declined Jacobs' fifth-year option in his rookie deal, which paves the way for him to become a free agent in 2023.
The Raiders hired a new general manager (Dave Ziegler) and a new head coach (Josh McDaniels) this offseason.
Neither may feel all that invested in Jacobs since they weren't responsible for selecting him in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft. That may, however, give him a clean slate after his performance stagnated across 2020 and 2021.
As a rookie, Jacobs ran for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Although he made the Pro Bowl the following year, his yards per game (71.0) and yards per carry (3.9) both declined. It was more of the same in 2021 as the 5'10", 220-pound ball-carrier finished with 872 yards and nine touchdowns in 15 games.
Having the Raiders turn down his option provides an obvious incentive for the 24-year-old to have a big season. The question is whether he'll have the opportunity to properly showcase his skills.
Las Vegas signed Davante Adams to what was briefly a record-setting five-year, $140 million contract and gave Hunter Renfrow a two-year, $32.3 million extension to fortify its receiving corps. That's in addition to the three-year, $121.5 million extension Derek Carr signed.
The Raiders figure to have a pass-heavy offense, thus potentially leaving Jacobs on the periphery.
The offensive line may not be much better, either, with Pro Football Focus' Michael Renner ranking the unit the 29th in the NFL. When he does get the ball, Jacobs could face tough sledding.
As much as he wants to stay in Las Vegas right now, a change of scenery could prove beneficial depending on how the upcoming campaign plays out.