It will be two weeks Sunday since the Oakland Raiders and first selection in this past April’s Draft, QB JaMarcus Russell have even spoken about a deal that would get the LSU signal caller in camp. With training camp wrapping up today in Napa, the chances of Russell starting opening day, which was a hot topic through the spring and early summer, has become nothing more than a pipe dream. So where do the two sides go from here? There is still a large gap in what Russell’s people want for their client and what the Raiders are willing to allow according to sources. Someone has to give in at somepoint – but when?
When asked about the latest in any talks or movement, coach Lane Kiffin was pretty down about where the situation stands. “Nothing,” Raiders coach Lane Kiffin after practice Thursday. “I have not talked to him in awhile.” One source says that Russell wants a whopping $31 million in guaranteed money. The Raiders offer in not at that level, and another major sticking point is owner Al Davis who does not want nor right now at least is willing to give Russell that much as he wants Oakland to be able to recoup portions of that guaranteed money if Russell pulls a Michael Vick or breaks another rule or down the road holds out again.
Russell, in return, wants that money to stay guaraneteed, and that includes an injury and skills clause, where the team cannot take that money away. If it sounds like a big mess, then trust me – it is. Russell becomes the first number one pick to miss training camp since the Rams Orlando Pace in 1997. “To take time, whatever that means, on JaMarcus is not helping this team right now,” Kiffin said. “If he gets here, when he gets here, we’ll do everything we can for him. But right now, we’ve got to get ready to win as if he’s not here.” And unless something amazing happens in talks soon, it looks like Kiffin will not have Russell around for the start of the regular season as well.