In a move that had become a foregone conclusion, the Oakland Raiders released former top pick JaMarcus Russell.
The move to release Russell saves the Raiders from paying his 2010 base salary of $6 million. He will still receive his $3 million guarantee. This completes his fall into the status of bust of Ryan Leaf proportions.
Russell was present at the team’s mandatory minicamp and looked to be in good shape and much sharper with his passing, which makes the timing of his release odd to say the least. By allowing him to practice, they risked an injury to him which would have put the team on the hook for his entire $9 million salary. His performance early in camp gave the impression that he could turn his career around, but as camp progressed, his legendary inaccuracy returned.
By any measurement, Russell’s time in Oakland will go down as one of the all time epic disappointments. He just never was able to mature into the type of leader that is required for an NFL quarterback.
In his three years in Oakland, he started a total of 25 games and pocketed over $31 million. He has a career passer rating of 65.2 and more interceptions than touchdowns.
The question becomes: What is next for Russell?
He has developed a reputation for having a shoddy work ethic, which is going to hurt his chances to catch on with another team. It would have to be a situation with a solid veteran he can spend a season or two learning under and have an established system where he doesn’t have to win games for them. Wherever he goes, he won’t be getting a contract anywhere near what he has made in Oakland.
On Day one of minicamp, Coach Tom Cable said that JaMarcus Russell was still in the competition to be a starter, but as they say in Top Chef, “JaMarcus you have been chopped.”