A QB that can make reads, convert 3rd downs to win the field position battle, give its defense a rest, and force the opposing teams to take chances versus going with a vanilla offense gives any team a possibility. Bruce Gradkowski showed on Sunday that the Raiders, as constructed, are able to compete against anyone in the NFL. While it is a better solution than JaMarcus Russell, Gradkowski is not the long term solution. He has a career QB rating under 60, averages less than 5 yards per attempt, and has more INT’s than TD’s. So what should the Raiders do?
Keep What They Have – No.
Everyone should hope that the 2010 season is uncapped so that the Raiders can pay $3m to Russell instead of the $15m and cut ties. Keep Gradkowski and Charlie Fry as backups, but they are not the future.
Draft Another QB – absolutely not.
They cannot waste another 1st round pick with so many holes to still fill (OL/DL, S, LB), especially not for someone that will be 2-3 years from contributing. If one of the touted QB’s coming out in the 2010 draft slips to the later rounds, take a chance, but not in the first round.
Free Agents and Trades – This is most likely route for the team.
Kevin Kolb is worth a 2nd round pick, a QB that has produced (albeit in a small sample) and comes from a winning organization, and Kyle Orton is a winner. There are a few others (Matt Leinart?) that would be interesting, and I’m sure the Raiders scouting group uncover a gem, like Rich Gannon.
The decision to bench Russell will allow the Raiders to be more competitive in their remaining games, win or lose. The starting 2010 QB will determine if they can compete for the AFC West title or if the word playoffs can re-enter the vocabulary.