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RB Josh Jacobs hopeful of Raiders return, but 'it's got to make sense'

Josh Jacobs ran to a rushing title in the 2022 season.

He's not looking to rush out of Las Vegas, though, as the Raiders running back would like to stay put with the only franchise he's called home thus far in his career.

"For me, it's got to make sense," Jacobs said Monday, via ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. "But this is obviously where I want to be. Coming in, I remember sitting down with [defensive end] Maxx [Crosby] and all these guys and talking about the Raiders organization and the culture and wanting to be part of the change. I still feel that way so, hopefully, I'll be back."

Making sense translates to making dollars and cents for Jacobs, who was among a trio of Raiders 2019 first-round draft picks whose fifth-year options were declined last spring.

Jacobs promptly responded with the best season of his four-year career. He ran for 1,653 yards -- more than 100 better than anyone else in the NFL -- and matched his career high with 12 rushing touchdowns. He added career bests of 400 yards receiving, 97.2 yards rushing per game and 4.9 yards per carry.

The 24-year-old is now staring at a second contract and the potential of being one of the top backs in free agency along with Saquon Barkley and Tony Pollard.

Scheduled to stay in Vegas for the inaugural Pro Bowl Games following his second career Pro Bowl selection, Jacobs was drafted by the Jon Gruden/Mike Mayock regime, but likes what he's found with head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler.

"Obviously, Gruden is a great football mind, but these guys, man, take it to another level just when it comes to the way they explain things and the way they utilize certain guys," Jacobs said. "So, just learning their offensive playbook, learning the terminology and then taking it and putting my own little spin on it, it's definitely been fun.

"The way we go about working, [this is] definitely the best working group that I've been around since being in the NFL. It's just about putting the little pieces together right now, and identifying what those little pieces are, identifying each player's role and just trying to execute that to the fullest."

Unsurprisingly, McDaniels is an admirer of Jacobs, as well, following their first season together.

"Obviously, J.J.'s performance was a huge bright spot for us," McDaniels said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for him as a person and as a player, and he kind of embodies all the things that we want a Raider to be.

"Dave and I have talked about that; J.J. and I have had private conversations about those kinds of things. I think all that will play out in due time. But love him and would love to have him continue to be a Raider."

The Raiders could apply the franchise tag to Jacobs, which is projected to be $10.1 million for the 2023 season, per Over the Cap. That's a hefty raise from the base salary of $2.12 million Jacobs earned this past season, but he's likely looking for a long-term pact.

As an eventful offseason awaits the Silver and Black, McDaniels would love to have Jacobs return to lead the rushing game, but whether that comes to fruition obviously remains to be seen.

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