The Raiders’ acquisition of QB Jason Campbell in a trade with the Redskins for a 2012 fourth-round draft pick is a sign that Oakland is done experimenting with JaMarcus Russell. This is hardly a motivational ploy to get Russell’s attention because if he hasn’t read the tea leaves the past year — mainly his benching — then he really has no idea what the NFL is about.
In a telephone interview Saturday on NFL Network, Campbell said that in his conversations with the Raiders, he was led to believe he was the starter. He really didn’t need to be told. The Raiders added one year to his contract through the 2011 season, meaning they are giving Campbell a grace period to develop into the system — not Russell, who had more than enough time.
Though Russell — the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 — remains on Oakland’s roster for now, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s released in the near future. The Raiders already have paid him more than $30 million, but they can dump the remainder of his salary now because there is no salary cap in 2010. Thus, Oakland wouldn’t face any cap ramifications.
For Campbell, things couldn’t have worked out better. He didn’t fit into the Redskins’ plans after the trade to acquire Donovan McNabb. Campbell now goes to a team that, based on this draft and some of the strides it made late last season, appears serious about getting back to being a legitimate NFL team. Yes, he’ll have to work under a new offensive coordinator for the eighth time in 10 years since his days at Auburn, but that also would have been the case had he remained in Washington.
By dealing Campbell, the Redskins — who save $3.1 million — showed some class to move the classy Campbell to a situation where he has a chance to play. In the past, being dealt to the Raiders might have felt like punishment, but for Campbell, it has to feel pretty good.