AFC West: The Big Question 50410

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Will JaMarcus Russell be able to fight his way back into the starting quarterback mix in Oakland?

[+] EnlargeRussell
Kirby Lee/US PresswireJaMarcus Russell threw for just 1,287 yards and three TDs last season.
Russell was expected to be cut once Oakland traded for Jason Campbell on the final day of the draft. He still could be jettisoned.

However, the fact that Russell was brought to Oakland’s minicamp last week means the Raiders have not decided to cut him.

Russell did his part by reporting in decent shape and performing fairly well at the minicamp.

Will it be enough for Oakland to keep him? The Raiders probably will want to reduce Russell’s enormous salary if they want to keep him as a backup. If Russell balks at taking a pay reduction (he has indicated in the past that he would have trouble taking a pay cut), he could be sent packing.

Still, it is clear Oakland owner Al Davis has yet to decide on whether to cut Russell. Many league observers don’t think Davis wants to admit that taking Russell with the No.1 overall pick in 2007 was a mistake. Yet, trading for Campbell was a sign that Davis is making plans to move away from Russell.

If Russell is brought to training camp, he may have a chance to reclaim his starting job if he continues to get in better shape and make strides with his fundamentals. Yet, I think Russell’s road may be too challenging for him to overtake Campbell. Give Russell credit for trying to salvage his career, but it just may be too late in Oakland.

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