Smart move is wait and see on Russell


Conventional wisdom seems to be the Raiders ought to rip the bandage off the wound and be done with it.

Dump JaMarcus Russell, as of yesterday, when he apparently arrived at the Palms in Las Vegas to begin serious preparation for an offseason of conditioning and work study.

Before even getting into the fact that what goes on in Vegas surely doesn’t stay in Vegas, here are some of the thoughts about why the Raiders should end it with Russell:

— It’s better to admit the mistake now than to carry it in to 2010.

— It would placate a dwindling fan base which boos at the very sight of him. Russell’s face showed up on the big screen as he sat courtside at the Celtics-Warriors game and was booed. Judging from a number of e-mails, there are some fans who have no intention of renewing their season tickets if he’s still on the team.

— It would send a message that slackers aren’t tolererated _ regardless of their status in the draft or what they’ve been paid.

It’s so sensible. So logical. It just feels right.

It’s also off-the-charts wrong.

Let’s get into the economics, the cold numbers which rule just about everything. If the figures presented by the National Football Post’s Andrew Brandt are correct, and being that he’s a former NFL exec I’m assuming he’s seen the contract and understands it better than I ever could, the Raiders have guaranteed $3 million of a $9.45 million salary for 2010.

They’re going to pay that amount if they cut him or not. Salaries are paid through 17 weeks of the season, starting in Week 1. The Raiders can wait all the way up to the final cut to determine whether they want to pay out the rest of the $6.45 million.

Keep in mind the financial future is a little cloudy with no collective bargaining agreement. There may or may not be a salary cap, and if there is not, there has been talk of penalties for teams that dump huge salaries.

Keeping Russell on the roster at present won’t cost them a dime. They’d simply be dumping him out of anger for his disinterest and lack of production.

The alternative is to put it in the most blunt terms possible to Russell that he is on notice. When Tom Cable benched Russell, it was with the blessing of Al Davis. Surely he sees his investment is in trouble. Davis should demand Russell hire a personal trainer and drop a significant amount of weight. He weighed in at the NFL scouting combine at 265 but was 256 at his LSU workout two weeks later. That’s a good place to start.

Hit the film room hard. Back away from the party scene and nightlife. In other words, grow up and be an NFL quarterback.

If Russell fails to heed the warning, he can always be cut before the regular season begins. And frankly, having him around with minimal reps and then dumping him right before the eyes of his teammates as the regular season approaches would send a better message throughout the locker room than doing it now when everyone has gone their separate ways.

The flip side is what if Russell finally gets it? As bad as those two turnovers were against the Ravens, didn’t anybody notice Russell looked better dropping back and throwing on target than at any time this season?

It’s not like Russell got any help from the running game or the Raiders inexperienced crew of wide receivers while he was the starter. It didn’t help that Chaz Schilens, the one wideout he connected with in camp, was lost with a broken foot and didn’t return to midseason.

Yes, the Vegas trip looks bad given that Russell was “excused” from the final team meeting. Richard Seymour was excused also, and if I remember correctly, neither Nnamdi Asomugha or Shane Lechler were around when the Raiders broke up after last season’s finale.

It’s a different perception with Russell because he’s not an established player and he doesn’t appear to have much support in the locker room. You’d rather have him upright and attentive, taking in everything there was to say about how the Raiders will attack next season.

But near as I can tell, he wasn’t actually in Vegas at the time of the meeting and he’s free to do as he wishes once the season is over. He’s an adult, if not exactly a mature adult. Rest assured Russell isn’t the only Raider or NFL player in Las Vegas at the moment.

This isn’t to be construed as a defense of Russell or a belief that he’ll attain the “greatness” Al Davis has predicted for him.

He looks to be cruising his Rolls Royce down the same road as Ryan Leaf, but not allowing him a chance to take one of the last exits with nothing financial at stake until September doesn’t make any sense.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • raiderzmaverick

    # Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Did anyone notice Jamarcus was dropping back only 3 to 5 steps against the Ravens? It seemed to help him sense the pocket better…
    I didn’t notice him have better pocket presence really. I didn’t see him once move to evade a pash rush. I didn’t see him check down to other receivers. I saw him stand where he was while the rush was coming and try to get it off quick enough and when he couldn’t he was sacked and/or fumbled.

  • I don’t see the value of bringing Russell back, restructured or not, and having him on the bench most of the year like how this year ended.

    You only keep him, if you seriously think he can start games next year. He might just re-structure, sulk his way into 3rd string and laugh his fat azz off to the bank with more than $3 million in guaranteed money.

    It’s sink or swim at this stage.

  • raiderzmaverick

    # Geright Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    I put the odds of Lane Kiffin coming back to Oakland better than Davis giving Russel $10 million bucks for next season.
    I’d put the odds of Davis giving Russell $10 mil quite a bit higher. In fact I think about 80% sure he will keep him even if he doesn’t take a pay cut.

  • http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/117194-nfls-least-valuable-franchise-is?cnn=yes

    Forbes magazine, famous for its rich lists, just came out with its evaluations of the 32 NFL teams. No surprise, Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys tops the list with a current value of $1.65 billion. Only two NFL teams are unprofitable: the Seattle Seahawks, who lost $2.4 million, and the biggest loser of them all, the Oakland Raiders. Al Davis’ once wondrous franchise is now the least valuable NFL club at a “mere” $797 million, plus the Raiders had the biggest operating loss in the league at $5.7 million.

    Los Angeles Times

  • Geright

    My error, Davis will not force a contract, he will find himself forced to offer the contract re structure in lieu of cutting him otherwise, I assumed this was understood, my mistake.

  • raidertay

    Im sitting here thinking what would be the most illogical thing to do and usually that is what the Raiders will do.

    Sorry guys, Al will keep him and pay him the $10 mill.

  • raiderzmaverick

    Yeah, Russell won’t take a pay cut. He’s got guaranteed money and doesn’t gain anything by restructuring. If he’s cut he still gets paid.

    So, Al’s forced to keep him with the current contract and he will – no matter how idiotic it is.

  • jhill

    The celebrity ends when the paper ends …

    If Russell is as dumb as a lot of you say he is, how much of that 20 million do you think he has left?

    30 million minus the IRS part is about 20.

    The rolls, house, bling, and party favors?

    Can’t be much left.

  • The Big Banana

    I don’t think Jerry is saying they should keep Russell next year. His point is that it cost you no more and no less to keep him through training camp. Then, if he’s still that fat lazy tub of sh1t that he is now, dump him before you have to pay the weekly salary.

  • Mistabrown

    KK sits in his dirty shorts 18 hours a day cutting & pasting articles into a blog that nobody takes the time to read.

    Great work KK!

  • jhill

    lefty12 Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    no one dispises Russell more than i do,but i agree with Jerry’s article.


    You’re a great Raider fan Lefty!

  • Jamarcus does roll with his entourage, but he has a legit agent and I’m sure some smart money guys.

    He probably blew his chance at being ultra-wealthy and a mulit, multi-millionaire, but I’m sure he’s set for life.

    Just don’t get married Jamarcus!!!

  • 4evaRaider


  • raiderzmaverick

    Hey – and next year we’ll draft a CB who runs a 4.2 40. Who cares about DT or MLB……you’ll see….

  • The best thing jamrcus could do is get married. And, as Cat Steven’s would say, get a HARDHEADED WOMAN!

  • Aren’t their usually roster bonuses that get paid on March 31st and July 31st? You always hear about guys getting cut before some roster bonus was due.

    I don’t know if it is part of the salary of a bonus on top of it. If the Raiders go by what Jerry says and keep him around, if they did cut him, it would probably be around those dates.

  • The Return of Godliness

    Jhill no one will get in JR’s face becuz they will face the wrath of Darth Vad………..er I mean Al Davis

  • The Return of Godliness

    # Mistabrown Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    KK sits in his dirty shorts 18 hours a day cutting & pasting articles into a blog that nobody takes the time to read.

    Great work KK!

    Pitiful person

  • I think Jerry’s right. See how he performs at OTA’s and Camp.

  • The Return of Godliness

    Yea forget getting an NT and true MLB to really stop that garbage run defense………….no way should we do that. We will draft Joe Haden lol the cornerback

  • The Return of Godliness

    # KoolKell Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I think Jerry’s right. See how he performs at OTA’s and Camp.

    LOL you are suck a weak man

  • raidertay

    If you actually watched Russell’s LSU games you would have seen that he really wasnt that good. He was throwing to three of the best WRs in the country.

    All three went on to be first round draft picks. Watch his LSU highlight tape on youtube. Half of his passes were just thrown in the air and the WR adjusted and outjumped the DB.

  • jhill

    The Return of Godliness Says:
    January 6th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Jhill no one will get in JR’s face becuz they will face the wrath of Darth Vad………..er I mean Al Davis


    The wrath meaning what?


    Seems like they would jump at the chance to play elsewhere if it’s to the point where a guy like that if forced on them as most seem to say.

    Cmon B, You know there have to be a few alpha males on that team that don’t care about their check. A practice squab?

    Versus stomping up and down on the field like a 2 year old, lol?!?!?!

  • The Return of Godliness

    Jhill……..Antoine Walker blew 110 million…………no russell isnt set for life

  • JB

    Maybe the problem has been Cable’s way of dealing with JaBustus. Rather than bowing & saluting when Jabustus approaches, Cable should have given him a little Randy Hanson action and make it clear right up front that he either shapes up or ships out right after he smacks him around for awhile to make sure he was paying attention to the message.

    JaBustus needs his ass kicked if for no other reason than to remind him that it’s time to grow up and act responsible.

    I personally do not think he will ever make it in the NFL. He has developed too many bad habits, is not willing to get down to playing weight (250 or less), has both bad footwork & throwing motions, is overall slow in everything he does and appears to NOT be very bright. He may also have learning disabilities. A QB in the NFL who is not quick & intelligent is dead meat. And, I think that’s what we have in JaBustus – DEAD MEAT.


  • The Return of Godliness

    Jhill there are few alpha males period left in america

  • Raiders_New_GM

    anyone who can look at all the dumb shyt going on in oak and blame a 24 yr old qb for everything is just an idiot.. Raiders had to be the worst team in the league already just to get him in the first place…no o line no wr’s…Did anyone notice that BOTH of the other qb that played behind that o line in that putrid system got the shyt kicked out of them and were injured? He hasn’t even had 3 full years oe experience yet.. Most of you are dumb or jealous of his money…im sure all of you were perfectly mature and professional at 24 years old huh?… If you were 24 with money to burn you would never make any mistakes huh… Idiots… What if he does get it? Think about that

  • OFL71

    I don’t think he’s “developed” bad habits.I think they were already there but were well disguised under the veil of a college system that lets some guys get away with being lazy fu(kin bums and still seem like they’re great guys.
    Any personnel guy/scout worth a damn would have seen right through JMs shortcomings and stayed the hell away from him.
    Unfortunately either Oakland doesn’t have guys like that in place or their opinion means zilch in the face of want Alice wants.

  • OFL71

    Think about this “New GM”:
    if he was even close to “getting it” there would be at least some glimmer,light coming on,smallest sign of that in his play,his attitude,his approach.
    But there is NONE of that.
    All there is,is lazy,blamegame,laughing on the sideline during a blowout,ditching the media after a terrible performance nonsense.
    This guy gets it about as much as you do.

  • OFL71

    Come to think of it you(New GM)would be a perfect fit for the Raiders right now.
    Inept and clueless is the flavor of the decade and obviously that’s your style.

  • Raiders_New_GM

    i read this blog daily and you same guys comment on every gd article and never have anything interesting positive or new to say.. Ja(fill in the blank with a food or weight reference) is fat, is dumb, will never make it. Every gd day the same shyt. Bunch of wet blankep HATING BEECHES

  • Raiders_New_GM

    i read this blog daily and you same guys comment on every gd article and never have anything interesting positive or new to say.. Ja(fill in the blank with a food or weight reference) is fat, is dumb, will never make it. Every gd day the same shyt. Bunch of wet blanket HATING BEECHES

  • OFL71

    What exactly,is a blankep?

  • Raiders_New_GM

    so he is supposed to prosper with no oline no recievers and a horrid scheme? Thats just dumb

  • Raiders_New_GM

    yeah comment on the typo

  • OFL71

    No but he’s not supposed to use it as an excuse to tank every performance.
    Guys like you want to put it on everything else but he’s just as much to blame for mailing it in every week.
    Guys like you are why he’s the way he is.Blamegame,instead of accountability.

  • OFL71

    When you here calling people dumb your godamn right I’ll call out your typo.

  • OFL71

    And by the way genius Gradkowski was doing pretty well behind that same line with the same WR under the same scheme.
    So what about that…?

  • Raiders_New_GM

    he tore his knee up because somebody didnt get blocked

  • Raiders_New_GM

    people like me?… You dont know me… Gradkowski won a couple games and you want to annoint him the next best thing.. Give me a break

  • OFL71

    “Gradkowski won a couple games and you want to annoint him the next best thing..”
    Who anointed him anything?Not me.
    And you don’t know me either but you’re calling me dumb,so swing from my left nut douchebag.

  • OFL71

    Injuries happen all the time idiot,so blame every injury on someone else and then PEOPLE LIKE YOU can continue to place blame instead of realizing that these are professionals who need to be accountable.

  • OFL71

    The FACT is that lots of QBs play behind suspect lines and some do ok,some do well and some do poorly but almost all of them take responsibility for poor play and are accountable to their teammates,coaches and the media.
    JM is accountable to no one and places blame on anyone but himself.

  • OFL71

    Try looking at JMs shortcomings,his complete lack of work ethic,desire,motivation,leadership,accountability, nevermind…you’re probably too busy sucking JMs balls to do anything else.

  • #104 KKell–the graph in the article shows a profit of $150 million for the decade 2000-2009 — despite the est loss in 2009

  • ExRaiderFan

    I laughed when Al Davis signed Ja Mark Ass Punk Russell. I have to admit I like seeing Al Davis get Raped in the Rear over & over again with Punk-Ass has- been players & “Superstars” that NEVER produce. But in this case with Ja Mark Ass, this Punk is ruining the Team & the Fans have had enough. It’s bad enough that the Fans’ Billboard was Dissed by Weird Al Davis – but Many Fans will NOT buy Tickets to this Crap they call the Oakland Raiders next Season if they keep this Baby Huey Looking Freak in a Uniform. My Brother-in-Law works for ESPN & has personally met & knows many Pro Athletes from ALL the Sporting World – He is a Life Long Raider Fan & He says that Ja Mark Ass is one of the Dumbest Athletes He has ever met in His entire Career of 15 years in Pro Sports. If the Fans don’t buy Tickets & the Raiders keep Baby Huey then I have to guess that Al Davis is betting huge money every week against “His Team” beacause I don’t see where the Raiders make any Money unless it’s “Dirty Money”.

  • los raiders de don rober

    I am completely in agreement with Jerry on this one. Wait till the last possible moment, if he pulls the ol rabbit out of the hat keep him. Otherwise dump him just before the season starts…

  • raidersnyc

    I agree with EXRaiderfan the best way to hurt Al Davis is stop buying tickets, and any and everything that has the Raiders Shield on it. Make that goofy old man sell the team to someone who knows what to do with it. Hey at least I have the mets right?

  • Raider J

    JaMarcus’ contract is voidable 2012. He has 2 yrs to “get it” or he’s gone. He needs to be Raiders #3 QB going into 2010 with the best available free agents battling for #1 & #2.

    Gradkowski and Frye aren’t durable enough to start 16 wks. Losman hasn’t done anything impressive. One of them may be a good #2 QB since they have experience in the system. Vick was advised not to go to Oak by Dungy. Troy Smith is the best of the free agents and the draft looks weak for QBs.

  • Raider J

    _New_GM had some valid points about the dysfunctional organization, injury ridden OLine and inexperienced WR core being the worst kind of support for a young QB. HOWEVER, Russell’s lack of fitness, pocket presense, decision making, accuracy and perpective (He didn’t understand why he was benched!) shows that he clearly was not ready…and we as fans cant expect him to be.

    Keep Cable. Draft DE Dunlop- FL