Raiders Have Tough Decision Coming at the Running Back Position

There are no surprise signings when it comes to Jon Gruden, but inquiring minds lately would love to know if the Raiders signing Theo Riddick had more to do with Jalen Richard or Lynn Bowden Jr.

So let’s look at some of the factors that Gruden and GM Mike Mayock will consider when they put together the final roster, particularly as it involves Bowden Jr. and Richard.

Jalen Richard

The Raiders very intentionally kept Jalen Richard over DeAndre Washington. Under Gruden, Richard has 104 receptions in two years and has a good understanding of the offense.

Richard signed a new two-year deal with the Raiders in the offseason and will cost the team $3.375 million in dead money if he isn’t on the roster in 2020. He also has the trust of Jon Gruden and Derek Carr in pass protection. That’s a big deal.

For those reasons it makes almost no sense for the Raiders to cut Richard. His training camp would need to have been catastrophic for him to not make the team and that hasn’t been the case.

Lynn Bowden Jr.

As for Bowden Jr., he’s a lock to make the team for a different set of reasons.

Most importantly, the Raiders drafted him in the third round and the long-term goal for Bowden Jr. hasn’t changed, regardless of how slowly he is picking up Gruden’s offense.

“You heard Jon Gruden talking about kind of waiting on some rookies to step it up, and this is just my observation, I don’t know this officially. I’ll just say this, Lynn Bowden Jr. is one of the guys that when I watch practice, he’s a guy that I’d like to see do a little bit more,” Raiders insider Vinny Bonsignore said last week on Las Vegas 920 AM radio. “So I don’t know if I’m on the same wavelength as Jon Gruden on that, but I kind of think I am, so I think that Lynn Bowden Jr. is one of the guys he was referring to.”

It seems unrealistic for Gruden, who especially values running backs that can hold up in pass protection, to have enough trust in Bowden Jr. to risk him being forced into a full-time role – even if only for one game. If that’s the case, Gruden might have no choice but to keep four running backs.

Some have surmised that the Raiders will not keep four running backs, but there is a good chance that he will keep an extra running back and maybe drop a linebacker (some projections have them keeping 6 linebackers) or a safety (with the understanding that Lamarcus Joyner could move to safety in a pinch).

Just a guess, but neither Richard or Bowden Jr. feel like anything less than a lock to make the initial 53-man roster. The real question might be whether or not Riddick or Devonte Booker can find a way to sneak onto the roster, as well.

twitter: @raidersbeat

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2 thoughts on “Raiders Have Tough Decision Coming at the Running Back Position

  1. I would keep Jacobs, Bowden, Richard and sign Fortenette! Great combo of speed and power!

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