The Las Vegas Raiders signed free-agent Kenyan Drake to a two-year, $11 million contract that boosts their backfield though at the expense – potentially – of Josh Jacobs. The deal could be worth as much as $14 million with incentives.
Drake spent his first three seasons with the Dolphins after being a third-round selection in 2016. He was never used heavily there, topping out with 644 yards on 133 carries in 2017 but adding a receiving role the next year that netted him a career-high 53 catches for 477 yards and five touchdowns. Amid the Fins offensive implosion in 2019, he was sent the Cardinals for a conditional sixth-round draft pick in 2020 before the Week 8 trade deadline.
He added a great spark for the rest of the year, rushing for 643 yards and eight touchdowns over the final eight weeks in Arizona. His 2020 campaign was less productive, with 955 yards on 239 carries and just 25 catches for 137 yards while missing a few games.
He lands on a Raiders squad already featuring Josh Jacobs. The release of No. 2 back Devontae Booker cleared the way for a replacement and Drake provides an upgrade, having spent most of his time in the NFL as a primary back who is still only 27.
Fantasy football outlook
The Raiders drafted Jacobs in 2019 and received two-straight 1,000-yard seasons from their first-round pick. He caught a career-high 33 passes for 238 yards last season while only missing one game. Devontae Booker filled with around four to six touches per game.
Jacobs turned in six games with more than 20 carries in 2020 and that’s likely to decline with the addition of Drake. Instead of a split backfield with two dissimilar backs sporting different skills, the Raiders now essentially have the same back twice. There is no doubt that Jacobs remains the primary, but after he ran 273 times for 1,065 yards (3.9 YPC) last year, he’s playing with Drake who handled 239 carries for 955 yards (4.0 YPC).
At first glance, the addition of Drake means less work for both backs in Las Vegas. Devontae Booker was merely a change-of-pace back with no challenge for more work last year. Drake owns a 4.5-yard career rushing average and carried over 15 times in over half of his games with the Cardinals.
Worse yet, Jacob’s propensity to get banged up only adds to what could be an uneven share of the workload each week.