Football.com - everything football

Make Or Break Season For Raiders' Rashad Jennings

By



Rashad Jennings looks for fresh start in Oakland. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.
Rashad Jennings looks for fresh start in Oakland. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images.

The 2013 season could be a make-or-break one for Rashad Jennings.

The running back comes to the Oakland Raiders after four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jennings, who was drafted late in the seventh round out of Liberty, quickly gave the Jaguars a solid second option behind Maurice Jones-Drew. In his first two seasons, Jennings racked up 661 yards on 123 carries, gaining more than 5 yards per rush both years.

Jennings, 28, missed the entire 2011 season with a knee injury, but last season was an opportunity for him to thrive in Jacksonville. With Jones-Drew holding out for a new contract, Jennings got the nod to start in Week 1. Jennings lasted just eight carries in the Jags’ season opener before a knee injury knocked him out of the game. In all, he missed six games with knee and shoulder injuries as well as a concussion. He ultimately led the team with 101 carries, but gained just 283 yards.

For Jennings, Oakland looks to be a perfect opportunity. He won’t have the pressure of being a starting back, but history suggests that there will be an opening as starting back Darren McFadden is yet to play more than 13 games in a season. If Jennings can be the Raiders’ complementary back behind McFadden and fill in when necessary, he’ll be sure to land a new contract in 2014.

For the Raiders, signing Jennings is a low-risk move that could very well pay off this season. He is reportedly signed for just one season at $630,000. Jennings claims he is 100% healthy and ready to return to the form that he showed in Jacksonville his first two seasons. If he can do so, he will prove to be a steal for the Raiders, who might have more than $60 million in cap space for 2014 if they want to bring Jennings back.

Oakland does return do-it-all back in Marcel Reece, who finished second on the team in both rushing yards and receptions in 2012. Oakland also drafted sixth-rounder Latavius Murray out of Central Florida, who will be looking to break into the rotation this year. If Jennings can’t beat out the competition, he may have trouble finding a new suitor in 2014.