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Monday, March 8, 2010
Raiders dump bad decisions

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Like they did last year, the Raiders are trying to right past financial wrongs.

The Raiders just cut receiver Javon Walker and defensive end Greg Ellis. Neither release was a surprise. Both players are aging and expensive.

But it is a reminder of past mistakes, especially in Walker’s case.

Walker will go down as one of the biggest free agents mistakes in the history of the league. Denver cut Walker after the 2007 season because he has major health issues with his knees and totally lost his ability to separate from defenders. Many league observers thought Walker could get a one-year, $1 million deal at best.

Stunning the league, Oakland jumped on Walker, giving him a six-year, $55 million deal with $16 million in guaranteed money. What a bad decision that was.

Walker’s injury issues continued in Oakland. He never made an impact. Walker, 31, played in a total of 11 games for the Raiders in two seasons. He had 15 catches in 2008 and none in 2009.

The Raiders still owe him more than $2 million. This signing was a disaster. There was no chance Oakland would bring him back for 2010, but his release still stings, because it is a reminder of how little he gave the Raiders.

Ellis is simply a case of Oakland trying to make something happen with a player who was too beat up. Ellis, 34, battled injury problems last season. He managed to get seven sacks, but is probably too hurt to continue playing.

His release probably doesn’t bother Ellis too much. The former Cowboy repeatedly questioned his Oakland teammates’ desire and approach during the team’s 5-11 2009 season.