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Reigning NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs has cryptic message ahead of free agency

Las Vegas Raiders running back and reigning NFL rushing champion Josh Jacobs is less than two months from hitting free agency.

Las Vegas’ decision to decline the fifth-year option on Jacobs’ rookie contract has him set to cash in big time once the market opens. Then again, there’s a chance that the Raiders simply place the franchise tag on their star running back to prevent him from hitting free agency.

With things still undecided in this regard, the former first-round pick from Alabama took to social media with a cryptic post on Twitter. He also seemed to indicate that contract conversations with the Raiders are not going too great. Read into it what you will.

Jacobs, 24, just finished up shop on his rookie contract. He earned a base of just $2.1 million in 2022 despite putting up a career-best performance.

  • Josh Jacobs stats (2022): 340 attempts, 1,653 rushing yards, 4.9 average, 53 receptions, 400 receiving yards, 2,053 total yards, 12 TD

The Crimson Tide product led the league in rushing yards, touches and total yards for a Raiders squad that struggled to a 6-11 record.

One of general manager Dave Ziegler’s first major decisions in that role last offseason was to decline fifth-year options on all three of the Raiders’ 2019 first-round pick. That included Clelin Ferrell and Johnathan Abram, the latter of whom was waived in-season.

If the Raiders had picked up the fifth-year option on Jacobs deal, it would have been valued at roughly $8.03 million. Placing the franchise tag on him would create a cap hit in excess of $10 million, potentially leading to a further rift between the Pro Bowl running back and his organizaion.

josh jacobs, las vegas raiders
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Related: Josh Jacobs and the top NFL free agents of 2023

The Raiders have several decisions to make with free agency quickly approaching. Head coach Josh McDaniels benched longtime starting quarterback Derek Carr late in the season. He’s expected to be traded or released here soon, creating a major need under center.

It’s in this that Vegas has been linked to seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady ahead of free agency.

In an interesting turn, retaining Jacobs could actually entice Brady to head to Sin City. His Tampa Bay Buccaneers put up a league-worst rushing effort during a down 8-9 season. Joining a team with the reigning NFL rushing champion as well as All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams could be attractive to Mr. Brady.

Either way, Josh Jacobs is making it clear that things aren’t going great in initial contract talks with the Raiders’ brass. What that might mean moving forward remains to be seen.