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Raiders make important decision on Josh Jacobs’ future with team

Updated February 28, 2024 - 9:14 am

INDIANAPOLIS — The Raiders are unlikely to use the franchise tag on running back Josh Jacobs or any of their other pending free agents, general manager Tom Telesco said Tuesday.

“I do not anticipate using the tag,” Telesco said during the first day of the NFL scouting combine.

Telesco’s words confirmed what most insiders already knew. He did say the Raiders are hopeful of re-signing Jacobs to a long-term deal and that he wants to prioritize the club taking care of their own.

“I do want to establish a philosophy with the Raiders that we like to re-sign our own,” Telesco said. “It doesn’t bother me that I didn’t draft him. He’s a Raider, and he was drafted by the Raiders, and he’s a high-level player. So, yeah, we’re going to explore pretty hard to see if we can bring him back here.”

Jacobs, 26, was given the franchise tag last season and played on a one-year, $11.79 million contract. He would make $13.67 million on the franchise tag this season.

The former Alabama star struggled through a down season that was cut short by four games because of a late-season calf injury. Between his diminished production compared to his dynamic 1,653-yard season in 2022 and the emergence of second-year back Zamir White, Jacobs might not be in a position to command the type of deal he was seeking last year. If so, that could fit with the Raiders’ vision of a committee approach at running back that would incorporate Jacobs and White.

“The way we’re going to play, and the way a lot of teams play, is you need more than one back. I don’t really see a lead-back type thing,” Telesco said. “You’ve got to have more than one. You need to have two, you need to have three. They all have different roles with the team. The way this game is played, it’s hard to put that all on one person.”

Of White, Telesco said: “From what I’ve seen, he’s a very good player. He has size, he has speed, he has some nice vision, had some production late in the year.”

Telesco also indicated the Raiders are not interested in trading star wide receiver Davante Adams. When asked what he would say if a team called about Adams, Telesco replied: “He’s a Raider.”

The Raiders new general manager touched on a number of subjects Tuesday. Among them:

His first impression upon reviewing the Raiders

“I think the one thing that jumped off kind of doing a deeper dive is how tough a football team it was, and I would say that on offense, defense and the kicking game. But tough, resilient and really committed to the process. Just watching the whole situation, how the season played out from how it started and then your head coach is no longer there, and then how you finished it with a new head coach.”

How open is he to trading up to take a quarterback?

“Since we’re in late February, I really wouldn’t take anything off the table as far as going up, back.”

The characteristics he’s looking for in a quarterback

“How many do I get? The two for me are probably leadership and toughness. I think you have to start with that. He’s got to be somebody that when you’re in the huddle and those 10 other players are looking you in the eyes, that you can lead that group. So, those are the two most important things for me. And then it kind of goes into preparation skills for that position. It’s like no other (position), and probably no other spot in professional sports. Then when you get to the physical abilities, you start having sliding scales for different things because there’s no perfect players.”

On relationship building with coach Antonio Pierce

“It’s been really cool, and it was nice having the Super Bowl in town, so I got to spend a little bit more time with him. What I thought was really, really neat with him was watching him go through the process of hiring assistant coaches, because I’ve been through that process before and sometimes it gets a little bit hectic. Sometimes you do some moves a little bit too quickly where you might hire a good coach, but maybe it doesn’t necessarily fit the vision or philosophy you’re looking for. And he really took his time. He talked to a lot of people, did a lot of research, took in a lot of opinions. … You can say he is a first-time head coach, but he handled that like a pro to me.”

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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