Star Running Backs Join Loaded Free Agent Class

On Tuesday morning, according to ESPN, the word going around the NFL is that running backs Josh Jacobs, Saquon Barkley, and Tony Pollard are all poised to enter the free-agent market.

Insiders around the league have hinted that the Las Vegas Raiders will make a push to retain Jacobs, although they’re unlikely to resort to tagging him given the hefty $14,149,200 price tag attached to the franchise tag.

Meanwhile, insiders suggest that the New York Giants will engage with Barkley and explore potential contract negotiations — though they’re also inclined to forego tagging him for $12,109,200. As for the Dallas Cowboys, sources indicate that they’re unlikely to employ the same $12,109,200 tag for Pollard.

The three lead-backs would join the likes of Derrick Henry and Austin Ekeler on the market. The Titans aren’t going to tag King Henry, while the Chargers are expected to allow Ekeler to explore free agency. Also, a handful of notable names — including J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Ezekiel Elliott, D’Andre Swift, AJ Dillon, Devin Singletary, Zack Moss and Clyde Edwards-Helaire — will be available next month.

On Friday, the NFL announced a historic salary cap of $255.4 million per team for the upcoming 2024 season, marking a 13.6% surge from last year’s figure. This translates to a $30.6 million increase per team compared to the previous cap of $224.8 million.

The running back market has posed significant challenges in recent years. Notably, Jonathan Taylor broke the trend by becoming the first running back since 2021 to secure a lucrative long-term contract exceeding $10 million annually. Last October, he inked a three-year, $42 million extension with the Indianapolis Colts.