A pretty big name could be hitting the open market before the NFL preseason comes to a close. The Raiders are planning to release veteran running back Kenyan Drake, according to NFL Media and confirmed by CBS Sports NFL insider Josina Anderson. Drake, 28, has been caught in a crowded backfield in Las Vegas that also includes starter Josh Jacobs, Brandon Bolden and rookie Zamir White.
A third-round in the 2016 NFL Draft, Drake spent his first two-plus seasons in Miami before he was traded to Arizona during the 2019 season. He stayed in Arizona for the 2020 season before joining the Raiders for the 2021 campaign. He tallied over 1,000 all-purpose yards each year from 2018-20 despite playing for three different teams over that span.
"Honestly, I felt like the writing has been on the wall recently -- like within the last two to three weeks," Drake told Anderson on Monday night. "I never felt like I had a fair shot to really compete for the job coming off the injury. At the end of the day that's business. ... I feel like as time progressed through camp there really wasn't a role for me to have anymore, because they had guys that they brought in, they traded for and I was kind of odd man out, especially coming off my injury. Other than that, I'm at peace with it because I know my capabilities as a player, and I know people are going to use me how I definitely feel like I need to be used, because I'm a playmaker."
As a member of the Cardinals in 2020, Drake set career-highs with 955 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns. A solid receiver, Drake has 199 career receptions and seven career touchdown receptions. Drake appeared in 12 games last 2021 before suffering a broken right ankle that prematurely ended his season.
Releasing Drake now would allow him extra time to land on another 53-man roster before the start of the regular season. Despite last year's injury, Drake will surely attract attention should he end up on the open market sometime over the next week. One team that may express interest in him is the Ravens, who employ a run-heavy offensive system. In Baltimore, Drake would add depth and insurance to a backfield that includes J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, who are both coming back from season-ending injuries.
"Personally, I feel like I can fit in any type of scheme," Drake said. "I proved to be a first and second-down back in Arizona; and through my entire career I've proved that I can be versatile out the backfield catching passes. ... I don't think it really matters where, as long as they give me the opportunity to go in and compete. I've got a lot of tread on my tires."