As you all probably know by now, the Raiders have released former #1 overall pick, JaMarcus Russell. The release comes just three years into his career making his tenure with his original team shorter than any other #1 pick in NFL history.
The reasons for his departure are now infamous. His utter lack of work ethic, his weight fluctuation which usually bordered on 300 pounds, missing team meetings, sleeping through class, and showing up late and leaving early. And all of these things he did (or didn't do), translated directly to his poor play on the field. And now, $39 million in guaranteed money later, he is out the door. Question is: what team will want to take a chance on him now?
The Bodog odds on who Russell's next team will be look like this: Cardinals 3/1, Bills 7/2, Jaguars 4/1, Dolphins 6/1, Bengals 7/1, 49ers 15/2, Titans 8/1, and the CFL 10/1. I have also heard the Saints as a possibility. I'm guessing because JaMarcus went to LSU and Sean Payton may think he can get the best out of him there.
The Cards are banking on Matt Leinart being "who they thought he was" when they drafted him now that Kurt Warner has retired. They may look to bring in Russell as an insurace plan. Of course, that could be along the Oline, we are not sure.
The Bills are in a similar situation with their quarterbacks. They drafted Trent Edwards the same year the Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell. The interesting connection is that Lane Kiffin wanted Calvin Johnson in the 1st, and Trent Edwards later but was overruled by Al Davis. Now if Russell came in to compete with Edwards for the starting job in Buffalo, that would be an interesting twist of fate.
The Jaguars are in a similar situation as the Redskins were with Jason Campbell. Despite David Garrard's passable numbers, they have never really been satisfied with him as their quarterback. They don't think he will be anything more than decent and therefore he could never take them to the next level. JaMarcus has the God given talent to be great but doesn't care enough to cultivate it. If Jack Del Rio thinks he can catch lightening in a bottle, he could take a chance on him.
The Dolphins are there because after Chad Henne, they don't have a quarterback they are comfortable with. They traded for Tyler Thigpen from the Chiefs a couple years back. But they haven't been happy with his play and he hasbeen buried on the depth chart behind Wild Cat sensation Pat White. The Dolphins reportedly have Thigpen on the trading block too. Russell and Henne are very similar physically as hre are both big, strong armed quarterbacks. Dolphins Executive VP Bill Parcells is just arrogant enough to think he can strike on that untapped talent Russell has in him.
The Bengals are on this list mainly because they have turned into the team that everyone accused the Raiders of being for so many years. They are the place where the problem children go these days. They just signed Pac Man Jones as well as former Raider Gibril Wilson who bitched his way out off of three teams in three years. They also draft the questionable character types that everyone always predicts the Raiders will take. Russell fits that bill sort of. Only difference being that we no longer question his character. We know full well what type of character he is.
The 49ers are here almost as a joke from what I can tell. Simply because there are three busted #1 picks in this league right now and two of them are on the Niners roster already-- Alex Smith and David Carr. Why not call JaMarcus over from across the Bay Bridge to complete the quarterback depth chart with them?As funny as that would be, I really don't see it happening. Besides, I think JaMarcus wants out of the Bay Area. Someplace warmer and perhaps more humid is more Russell's style.
Someplace like maybe Tennessee? The odds are going down at this point so obviously it seems less likely. But in Tennessee, the Titans have another high first round prospect who had some difficulties early on. Maybe the Titans could see Vince Young as a mentor for Russell? The funny thing is that they both may have had their issues but they are opposite issues. Young cared TOO much,while Russell doesn't seem to care at all. VY is also seen as a bit fragile so he could see the signing of Russell as an indictment on him, causing him to look over his shoulder. I am not sure the Titans and Jeff Fisher would welcome that kind of dysfunction.
The final destination in the odds is the Canadian Football League. If you are going to put them up there, you may as well throw the UFL up there too. I don't see either of these leagues being a destination any time in the near future. Russell will either be content to live out his days off ofhis $39 millionor he will try and get as much as he can to ride thebench with an NFL team before he ever thinks of joining the CFL or UFL.And I personally don't think he would ever go that route. That is where guysthat have a passion for football go. He doensn't have that passion so why put in thework?
Keep in mind that the odds for some of these teams abovewill become null and void when faced with the fact that Russell will not play for league minimum. Sure, there are a few teams that might want to take a chance on reviving his career. But with the reports that the Raiders tried on several occastions, including right up to the end, to see if Russell would restructure his deal to stay with the team, it seems unlikely that he would take an even bigger pay cut to go elsewhere.
The plain truth is that JaMarcus himself may have been lazy and lethargic but his agent was anything but. He had his agent fighting to get him a contract so hard that the fight went well into his rookie season. Then he had his agent fighting the Raiders so he could keep that money despite him playing himself to the bench. And bench players don't make $9.5 million a season. Now he can make his guaranteed $3 million the next two seasons to do essentially what he did the first three-- nothing. If he so chooses.
But if one of these teams (or another surprise team) come calling, they better be willing to pony up the dough for JaMarcus' "potential" or he would just as well eat and drink his time away. That list left off a few other odds actually. Las Vegas 1/1, Old Country Buffet 1/1, the couch 1/1, Cabo 2/1.
In the mean time keep your eyes on Ebay for a slightly used, gaudy piece of JaBling.