This is surprising, as the general consensus was that McFadden would sign elsewhere while the team would focus on re-signing Rashad Jennings, who was the far superior runner in 2013. There is no reason to believe that McFadden will return to his 2010/2011 form under the current regime.
Raiders RB Latavius Murray appeared in one preseason game, the exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys, and finished with 29 yards on eight carries. It was his only action as the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder was placed on Injured Reserve on Aug. 27 with an ankle injury. “He was never fully healthy,” coach Dennis Allen said at the recent NFL combine. “And every time he got healthy, the ankle reared its ugly head again and he was back down. There were a couple of plays in there ... the Dallas game, maybe, where he got a run over on the sideline and was able to lower his shoulder and really finish a run off really well. So there are plays in there I can think of that are exciting and encouraging to me. But, again, he’s got very limited experience and limited exposure.”
Big things are expected out of a healty Murray, especially with Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. “I think Latavius is one of those guys that we’re anxious to see be healthy and get out there and play,” Allen said. “He’s a big back that’s got excellent speed and excellent size. He runs tough ... we’ll find out a lot more about Latavius Murray as we go through the offseason program and into training camp.”
While the Raiders are expected to re-sign Rashad Jennings (who was excellent as a starter), McFadden is expected to walk in free agency. Murray could become Jennings' primary backup or even become the starter if Jennings signs elsewhere. The versatile Marcel Reece will have a role as well.
The 12 interviews taped for Pro Football Talk on NBCSN at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday included Raiders coach Dennis Allen, and Allen suggested that Rashad Jennings is more likely to remain a Raider than Darren McFadden.
When listing the team’s priority free agents, Allen specifically mentioned Jennings, who joined the team in 2013 on a one-year deal. Allen didn’t mention McFadden, a first-round pick on 2008 whose rookie contract is expiring.
Rashad Jennings was the #6 RB from Week 9 to Week 15 (when he was playing starter’s snaps for the Raiders) and that included a missed game against the Jets in Week 14. If Oakland re-signs Jennings and lets Darren McFadden walk (as expected), Jennings will definitely be in the RB2 conversation.
Jennings turns 29 this March, so he's unlikely to garner a long-term deal, but a two-year contract sounds like a good idea for both sides as Jennings thrived in the Raider offense after Darren McFadden went down. McFadden is not expected to return. If Jennings is re-signed and no other major competition is brought in, he'll be a sleeper in the middle rounds (4th-6th).
Friday, December 20, 2013, 6:36pm
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (knee, ankle, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 16. It appears that McFadden will return this week, and that might cut into the workload of Rashad Jennings, though he’s still a strong RB2 play against the Chargers.
Thursday, December 19, 2013, 6:44pm
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (knee, ankle) took limited practice reps again Thursday. It appears that McFadden may be able to return this week, and that might cut into the workload of Rashad Jennings, though he’s still a strong RB2 play against the Chargers.
Thursday, December 19, 2013, 11:18am
The Raiders will have an interesting decision to make at running back. Due to durability issues, Darren McFadden is almost certainly gone, but 2014 free agent Rashad Jennings has played well since taking over as the starter in Week 9. Since then, he is the #5 RB in fantasy, and that includes one missed game due to injury, so he has the #3 PPG in that span. Jennings will turn 29 in March.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 6:32pm
Monday, December 16, 2013, 9:54am
A league source said Raiders running back Darren McFadden (ankle) is feeling better and should play next week in San Diego. McFadden, who has missed 19 of the Raiders' past 39 games, is not having the contract year he envisioned.
Friday, December 13, 2013, 6:50pm
Thursday, December 12, 2013, 6:28pm
Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 7:08pm
Friday, December 6, 2013, 5:50pm
Raiders RB Rashad Jennings (concussion, questionable) took limited practice reps all week and is questionable for Week 14. Jennings has practiced all week, but still apparently hasn’t been cleared to play in Week 14. We should know by Saturday, but with Darren McFadden and Jeremy Stewart out, Marcel Reece would probably be the next man up if Jennings can’t play. It’s a bad matchup against the Jets.
Friday, December 6, 2013, 5:49pm
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (ankle, out) missed practice all week and is out for Week 14. With McFadden out, Rashad Jennings figures to carry the load, though he hasn’t been cleared to play as of Friday.