Josh McDaniels officially denied it Monday, the Raiders coach insisting his team has no plans on trading fourth-year running back Josh Jacobs.
Which makes far more sense than not.
By the length of a few football fields.
The drama that ensued from the former Pro Bowl back playing a few series in the Hall of Fame Game victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday would rival anything Hollywood might script.
Twitter went abuzz after Jacobs ran five times for 30 yards.
You know the rest. Speculation from here to Canton.
You always listen
But breaking down the possibility is something altogether different. Running backs might be devalued across the NFL, but a starter still on his rookie deal should mean a whole lot more to the Raiders than taking what the market might generate.
Which likely wouldn’t be much.
Look. The phone rings and you listen. A team might lose a player to injury in camp and be willing to overpay to the point your stance changes. I seriously doubt the latter.
“(Jacobs) is a guy who we obviously know what he has done,” McDaniels said. “As I said after the game, I believe in backs in any situation … don’t get to simulate what’s going to happen in a game. So we give them the opportunity to get tackled and take care of the football and get acclimated to a new system. That’s the goal. Each man is different.”
Yes. The Raiders didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on Jacobs. Yes. It’s a crowded running backs room with some capable folks. Yes. McDaniels comes from a system in New England that more than supports a running back-by-committee approach.
But say that Jacobs walks into free agency after this season. Whatever draft-pick compensation the Raiders might receive could be better than what any current offer could resemble.
There is also that idea of being built to win now.
Jacobs has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in three seasons. Nothing to scoff at. There might be some serious young talent in the room (more on rookie Zamir White next), but proven production is just that.
Speaking of White …
He also shined Thursday. A bruiser out of Georgia, the fourth-round pick rushed 11 times for 52 hard yards and caught three passes for 23.
The Raiders traded up to take him at the No. 122 overall pick, and he has made the room even more interesting. A collection of names on mostly one-year deals, choosing White afforded the Raiders some long-term ability at the spot.
White — “It’s just grind mode for me,” he said — is powerful as all that, straight ahead at 5 feet, 11 inches and 214 pounds.
You saw some of that Thursday.
McDaniels’ take: White played fast. That while rookies often overthink situations enough to slow their movement, that didn’t occur. White even excelled on kick coverage.
“He’s a tough guy that adds that element to our team,” McDaniels said. “You saw how he finishes runs. Whatever we’ve asked of him to compete in, he just gets in there. Thought he got off to a good start.”
In all, five backs had carries. This is how it most likely will go, balance from the backfield but not all that great for fantasy football owners in search of a lead runner who carries the load.
This is also certain: For the moment, disregard any chatter about Jacobs being moved.
Never say never? Of course.
But it sounds petty close.
“We always do what’s best for the team,” McDaniels said. “We felt it was a good opportunity for all our backs who played. We have a lot of confidence in (Jacobs). He did well with his opportunity, which we hoped he would, and he did.
“No, we have no desire to (trade him) at all.”
On its face, it would make little sense.
Apologies to the Twitter universe.
Ed Graney is a Sigma Delta Chi Award winner for sports column writing and can be reached at email@example.com. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.