Updated August 13, 2023 - 5:04 pm
One of the greatest running backs in NFL history isn’t happy about what has happened to the position.
“I’m just going to say it,” Raiders legend Marcus Allen said. “It’s almost like collusion.”
It’s part of a leaguewide trend of teams showing hesitation to commit long-term contracts to a position largely seen to be not only replaceable but also one with a limited shelf life in terms of high-end production.
“They decided the running back position is one where the productivity is only for a short period of time, and instead of looking at each and every one individually, they have decided as a group that they’re not going to pay them,” Allen said. “I can understand what (the running backs are) thinking and what they’re feeling, so hopefully things get resolved, because to me he’s the heart and soul of the team.”
While Allen is disappointed by what’s happening to running backs, he’s not even shocked to see the league’s leading rusher from last season unable to land the deal he wanted.
“Nothing surprises me anymore,” the Pro Football Hall of Famer said.
Allen admits he might have a bias toward running backs, but wanted to make it clear the position is still relevant despite the struggles to get compensated at the desired level.
“I understand the game,” he said. “The running back really is the essence of football. You throw the ball all over the field, and it looks great, and I know a lot of fans get excited, but the essence of the game is running the ball.
“What is interesting is that it isn’t devalued, but when it comes to monetarily, they’re trying to do that. It’s a valuable position. Next to the quarterback, we’re the best friends they have on the field. I know most people think of wide receivers, but it’s still block and tackle. It’s still running the football, especially at the end of the year when it matters most because you don’t really get toward the Super Bowl or get in that conversation unless you can run the ball.”
The deadline for Jacobs to agree to a long-term deal has passed. He has not signed the franchise tag, which would pay him $10.1 million. He and the Raiders also have the option of coming to terms on a one-year contract.