Given the public endorsements for Jason Campbell as the Raiders starting quarterback from both Al Davis and Hue Jackson, it’s no surprise that Bruce Gradkowski was not tendered before Thursday’s deadline and had no talks with the club about a contract for 2011.
Asked by beat writer Steve Corkran if he’d received a tender and at what level, Gradkowski said, “No, nothing,” and said there had been no contact with the Raiders about playing this season.
A year ago, the Raiders gave Gradkowski a second-round tender which paid him just under $1.8 million last year. At the time, Gradkowski was considered insurance if JaMarcus Russell continued to go downhill after being benched for the last six games of the 2009 season. When Davis finally tired of what he later called Russell’s “personal problems,” he acquired Campbell from the Washington Redskins.
Gradkowski started eight games for the Raiders over two seasons, winning three.
The Gradkowski-Campbell story line was a dominant one throughout the 2010 season. Gradkowski replaced Campbell at halftime of a Week 2 win over St. Louis. Campbell got his job back when Gradkowski sustained a shoulder injury, leading the Raiders to a 35-27 win over San Diego. The last act in the drama came when former coach Tom Cable returned Gradkowski to the starting job on Nov. 28, a 33-17 loss to the Dolphins during which the quarterback re-injured his throwing shoulder and was done for the season.
On Jan. 18, Davis, when talking about the quarterback position, made reference to Gradkowski’s inability to remain healthy. After taking the starting job from Russell in 2009, Gradkowski went down against Washington in Week 14 with torn MCLs in both knees and was done for the season.
The Raiders could still attempt to sign Gradkowski once a CBA is reached and free agency begins, but it’s more likely he’ll be looking to land a job as a backup somewhere else.
The most likely scenario would have the Raiders re-signing free agent Charlie Frye and then looking for a developmental quarterback with Campbell in the last year of his contract.
Gradkowski never made any secret of his desire to be the starter, and while there appeared to be no friction with Campbell, it simply wasn’t in his personality to lay low and play the role of the erstwhile backup.
Frye, a favorite of the coaching staff, had his season ended by wrist surgery and was placed on injured reserve. But unlike many players on I.R. who are seldom seen, Frye remained a presence in meeting rooms to lend support to the other quarterbacks.
Kyle Boller, the backup to Campbell when Gradkowski went down, is also a free agent.
In other news, according to the National Football Post, the Raiders issued a second-round tender to long-snapper Jon Condo. Condo played under a second-round tender last season and earned $1.68 million and would make roughly that amount again if restricted free agency holds up under a new CBA.