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Las Vegas Raiders decline options on Josh Jacobs, two other 2019 first-round picks

Running back Josh Jacobs has seemingly been considered one of the faces of the Las Vegas Raiders’ franchise since they made him a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The same thing can’t be said about fellow 2019 classmates, defensive end Clelin Ferrell and safety Johnathan Abram.

That’s why it was somewhat of a surprise that the Raiders announced on Friday Jacobs has joined Ferrell and Abram in seing his fifth-year team option for the 2023 season declined.

“With the May 2 deadline approaching, the Raiders have decided not to pick up the fifth-year options on Clelin Ferrell, Josh Jacobs and Johnathan Abram. We look forward to working with all three players and we will evaluate each situation individually moving forward.”

New Las Vegas Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler, via the team’s official website

As with new head coach Josh McDaniels, Ziegler does not have a built-in relationship with these three. They were selected by the Raiders’ former brass of head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Mike Mayock.

Related: Las Vegas Raiders roster break down, Josh Jacobs and the RBs

Finances behind Las Vegas Raiders declining Josh Jacobs fifth-year option

las vegas raiders josh jacobs contract
Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ferrell was the easiest of the three. A surprising No. 4 overall pick of the Raiders back in 2019, he has yet to live up to expectations. The former Clemson EDGE rusher has registered 24 quarterback hits and eight sacks in 42 career games. A fifth-year option would have paid him $11.5 million.

As for Abram, he’s struggled with consistency and injuries over three seasons with the Raiders. That span has seen him play in 28 of a possible 49 games. Last season saw the safety from Mississippi State yield a 112.0 passer rating when targeted. With his fifth-year option coming in at $7.9 million, it was also wasn’t a surprise to see said option declined.

Josh Jacobs is the outlier here. He put up north of 1,300 total yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie in 2019 before earning Pro Bowl honors as a sophomore. Sure Jacobs had somewhat of a down 2021 season, but he’s seen as one of the better young backs in the game.

A fifth-year option would have cost the Raiders $8.0 million. By declining all three options, Vegas saves $27.4 million against the 2023 salary cap.

We’re also intrigued to see if the Raiders listen to offers for both Ferrell and Abram as the 2022 NFL Draft continues. Remember, they are without a first or second-round pick due to the blockbuster Davante Adams trade. Acquiring a couple mid-round picks could help this team.