After surprising the football world and putting together what appears to be a logical draft class last weekend, it seems certain that the Raiders will make another practical roster move and release quarterback JaMarcus Russell. However, with crazy Al Davis at the helm of the Raiders organization, there is no such thing as a certainty. ESPN is reporting that the team is ready to release Russell and has spent time figuring out ways in which they can do it without losing an incredible amount of money. The team is now awaiting the final word from owner Al Davis before they can proceed.
I don’t expect Davis to stop this from happening, but if I’ve learned one thing about the Raiders over the years it’s to expect the unexpected from Weird Al. JaMarcus Russell was a bad fit for the Raiders — then again it seems everyone they’ve gone after the past decade or so has been. The last thing an Oakland organization in peril needed was a college quarterback who seemed to generate the most buzz about himself when he showed he could throw a football 60 yards from one knee. Is Russell talented? Absolutely. What he accomplished at LSU — playing in the powerhouse SEC — is not to be overlooked.
The problem with JaMarcus is he just doesn’t care. His teammates know it. His coaches know it. The fans know it. LBS knew it years ago. Al Davis might even know it, and it takes a lot to get that guy to understand important concepts. The only thing that would stop Davis from giving the team the go-ahead to release Russell would be a hesitancy to admit another colossal mistake for his organization — one that will have cost him $39 million in exchange some of the worst quarterback play in the NFL. Maybe it’s being in Oakland that makes Russell not want to try. Randy Moss can certainly relate to that feeling.
Jason Campbell is going to be the starter for Oakland to begin the season anyways. The Raiders extended his contract after trading to get him, showing that they have confidence in him and expect him to be able to start. If nothing else, Campbell showed that he cares about football during his tenure with the Redskins. Do you really want a guy like Russell taking up space on your bench while you pay him almost $10 million? If Al Davis wants to give Raiders fans any hope that he cares about the future of the organization even a tiny bit, he’ll okay this move sooner rather than later. The Raiders may still — and probably will — finish the season under the .500 mark. By cutting Russell, they’ll have one less player on their roster who’s holding them back.
Sources: Russell release imminent [ESPN]