What should the Raiders do with JaMarcus Russell now that they've gone out and acquired a veteran starting quarterback in Jason Campbell and another former first-round draft pick in Kyle Boller while retaining fan and team favorites in Bruce Gradkowski and Charlie Frye?
The kneejerk reaction is to cut Russell. Like, yesterday. And while you'd have trouble finding fault in kicking Russell to the curb in these parts, there's another, more thought-out, albeit, probably less-popular-with-the-fans option.
Having already sunk some $39 million into the top pick of the 2007 draft, and on the hook for another $9 million more this coming season, the Raiders could ask Russell to take a massive pay cut. Tell him to accept a reduction in salary to the veterans minimum, a reported $630,000, and if he refuses, as he's already claimed he would do, then cut him. Because who else in their right mind would sign Russell to anything more than the veterans minimum?
Indeed, the bargaining chip the Raiders would hold over Russell is that no matter what happens, he will make no more than the veterans minimum in 2010.
This way, the Raiders could give themselves one last shot to see if Russell finally gets it. Why else would Al Davis extend Campbell through 2011 if they didn't think they could put Russell in mothballs for two seasons and, hopefully, he'd get his act in order? He's still relatively young and has shown the Raiders just enough flashes to convince them there's some talent buried beneath his lackadaisical veneer. Plus, new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is supposed to be a miracle-worker, right?
And if he refuses the pay cut, or shows up for this weekend's mandatory mini-camp sulking or out of shape...again...then the Raiders would have their definitive answer.
What would you do with Russell?