Should the Oakland Raiders Make a Long-Term Investment in Rashad Jennings?

While Darren McFadden has continued to struggle with injuries throughout the 2013 season, Oakland Raiders free-agent acquisition Rashad Jennings has stepped in quite nicely.

When McFadden's most recent injury knocked him out of the November 3rd loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and kept him out for the following three weeks, Jennings took a firm hold of the starting job.

In his five games as the feature back, he has carried the ball 90 times for 448 yards, giving him an average of just under five yards per carry.

Although this stretch has seen a number of disappointing losses for the Raiders as a team, including Thursday's blown lead in Dallas, Jennings has been the offense's most reliable and important player in that time.

So much so that when McFadden returned to the lineup against the Cowboys, Jennings still held on to the starting role, carrying the ball 17 times to McFadden's five.

Like several other key Raiders players, both backs will be free agents at the end of this season and are certain to garner interest from other teams on the open market.

As a result, the running back situation represents one of many key decisions general manager Reggie McKenzie will have to make when it comes time to spend the significant amount of salary-cap space the Raiders will benefit from.

The question is, do the Raiders make a long-term commitment to Jennings, McFadden or both?

If it becomes one or the other, that decision is made all the more difficult.

McFadden has been with the Raiders since being selected fourth overall in the 2008 draft, and although his durability has been questioned, he's as tough a runner as any back in the NFL.

Now in the right offensive/blocking scheme—and still a young player even by running back standards at 26—it may be too early to give up on him.

If his injury questions end up driving...

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