Report: Kenyan Drake, Raiders Agree to 2-Year Contract Worth Up to $14.5M

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

The Las Vegas Raiders and running back Kenyan Drake agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract Thursday.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the deal could be worth up to $14.5 million. 

The 27-year-old played the 2020 season under the $8.5 million transition tag after recording 817 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 during a season split between the Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. He recorded 955 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground in 2020, adding 25 receptions for 137 yards. 

Never given an opportunity to be a full-time lead back in Miami, Drake showed he could handle the full workload in Arizona. While his second-half breakout in 2019 didn't portend a star turn last season, Drake is still an effective back who kept the chains moving despite the Cardinals' shaky offensive line.

Chase Edmunds split carries with Drake for much of the season and could be in line for a larger role in 2021.

The Raiders signing Drake is a bit of a strange move given the presence of Josh Jacobs, a 2020 Pro Bowler who has topped 1,000 yards each of his first two seasons. The Raiders invested a first-round pick in Jacobs just two years ago, and he's mostly lived up to the billing as a solid three-down back. 

Devontae Booker received 93 carries behind Jacobs last season, and it's possible Drake plays a similar role in 2021. However, paying $5-plus million (at minimum) for less than 100 carries seems like a less-than-optimal use of resources. The Raiders could have drafted a spell back in Day 3 next month who could have done the same job at a much smaller cost.

It would seem the Raiders may wind up having something closer to a 50-50 split next season at running back.