It seems, at least at first glance, that the Oakland Raiders signed quarterback Daunte Culpepper at the right time. A marraige of convenience, so to speak. Yet Steve Corkran of the San Jose Mercury News and I can definitely agree on one thing – the Raiders wanted Culpepper long before they considered drafting current rookie QB and holdout Jamarcus Russell. Only difference in this whole scenario is the fact that it took a little longer to get Culpepper. Culpepper will get the chance to solidify his position as the #1 QB as the Raiders play the St. Louis Rams tonight.
A chronological breakdown of the Culpepper/Raiders flirtation – back in the spring of 2006, the Raiders released QB Kerry Collins. The Minnesota Vikings, who had Culpepper under contract at that time, were looking for a new QB. Culpepper was rehabbing an injured knee during this time, as well. Several teams (including the Raiders) expressed an interest in Culpepper; eventually the Miami Dolphins signed him. As a result, the Raiders signed veteran Aaron Brooks. Culpepper reinjured his knee last season and missed the final twelve games of the season and was released on July 17.
And there is some irony to this whole scenario. The Raiders drafted Russell because he reminded them of a younger Culpepper, yet at this rate, Culpepper may keep Russell off the field, at least short-term. And assuming Russell ever signs a contract. The feeling I am getting in this mess is that unless Russell signs a contract relatively soon, it is probable that Culpepper will be the Raiders starting QB this season, with Andrew Walter and Josh McCown backing up Culpepper. Which is unfortunate because of, in my opinion, a ridiculously high signing bonus request ($30 million+). I don’t care that he was drafted as high as he was. Al Davis is not going to pay any player that amount of money and I don’t blame him.