It’s been over three years since the Oakland Raiders cut JaMarcus Russell, but he is still finding ways to hurt the team. According to a report from Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, Russell and the Raiders finally settled a dispute surrounding the former number one draft pick’s rookie contract.
Fans might remember Russell’s holdout in 2007, which left him unsigned until after the first week of the season. Russell eventually got the 6 year, $68 million contract he was looking for.
The dispute between the Raiders and JaMarcus started soon after he was cut from the team. Al Davis filed a grievance against Russell in hopes of recovering $9 million in salary. Russell retaliated by filing a grievance of his own for the same amount.
At the time of Russell’s release, the Raiders had already paid him $36.4 million, but still owed him $3 million more. Russell was scheduled to meet the Raiders in court soon, but the matter has already been settled.
JaMarcus has been attempting to make a comeback, but this makes me wonder if he has matured at all. Russell has shown he can get in shape, has been working with Jeff Garcia, and even had a workout with the Chicago Bears.
That all looks good in the eyes of NFL executives, but maybe he should have let this $3 million go. His rookie contract holdout and general laziness made it seem like he had no real passion for the game. If Russell wants another chance, he needs show everyone that he is after redemption – not money.
Russell will also have to convince people on the field. Russell showed brief flashes of talent while playing for Oakland, but he was never able to put together a good string of games. Russell’s career quarterback rating of 65.2 can be blamed on a lack of effort, but he was never able to prove he had the skill to be a great player.
Leading up to the 2007 NFL draft, the hype surrounding Russell was largely due to his size and arm strength. Scouts drool when they see a big quarterback with a big arm, but there is so much more to the game. Russell never showed accuracy on the field, only completing 52.1 percent of his passes while on the Raiders.
He also never showed awareness on the field. Despite being a heavy guy, JaMarcus had a bit of mobility – only we rarely got to see it. He would stand in the pocket until it either collapsed or he was hit from behind.
Short, noodle-armed quarterbacks aren’t highly sought after, but they can stick around if they are accurate and aware of what is going on. Even though JaMarcus has drawn interest from teams like the New York Jets and Chicago Bears, he remains unsigned.
Russell may have won this settlement with the Raiders, but an extra $3 million shouldn’t be on the mind of a player trying to make a comeback.