About the Author
Recent posts by Dan Parr
The Raiders released QB JaMarcus Russell on Thursday after three disappointing seasons.
Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft, went 7-18 in 25 starts and compiled a touchdown-interception ratio of 18-23. Oakland saves $6.5 million by releasing him after having paid him more than $39 million in the first three years of his deal.
It looked like Russell, who was benched by head coach Tom Cable last season, was headed for this fate after the Raiders traded for QB Jason Campbell on the final day of this year's draft. Russell's work ethic and weight have been criticized and the Raiders never surrounded him with a quality supporting cast on offense.
Some already consider him the biggest bust in NFL history. This is the earliest a quarterback who was picked No. 1 overall has ever been released by the team that drafted him.
The PFW spin
This must have been a difficult day for Al Davis, who is no fan of admitting errors. Russell turned out to be a colossal one.
Rather than continue to compound the problem by keeping Russell around, Davis made the right decision, saving $6.45 million. It's not yet clear whether the Raiders asked Russell to take a pay cut before they cut him loose, but there was speculation that his acceptance of a reduced salary would be the only way he would keep his job.
Head coach Tom Cable's "quarterback competition" is down to a four-man battle, although it's believed that Campbell is a lock to start.
As for Russell, he could land with a team looking for a No. 3 quarterback. There is speculation that a club in the market for a backup, with a head coach who has developed quarterbacks in the past, could take a chance on him. The Saints could be a team that shows interest, and Minnesota might take a chance on him if Brett Favre retires. There was never much of a question about Russell's talent, which could still be intriguing to some coaches.
There was nothing but questions and criticism, however, when it came to his commitment to the game and his interest in getting better. Until he improves in those areas, Russell will not succeed in the NFL.
For the most authoritative NFL draft news and free-agency analysis, visit ProFootballWeekly.com.