JaMarcus Russell is Proof the NFL Needs a Rookie Salary Cap

The JaMarcus Russell experience is over in Oakland.

After wasting more than $39 million for only seven wins in 25 starts over three years, the Raiders released the top overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft.

Oakland still owes $3 million to Russell, who completed just 52.1 percent of his passes in his career with 18 touchdowns, 23 interceptions, 15 lost fumbles, and a passer rating of 65.2.

Russell now joins Ryan Leaf, Tim Couch, Akili Smith, Cade McNown, and Charles Rogers as one the biggest busts in NFL history.

As a matter of fact, the entire 2007 quarterback class is looking pretty bad with Russell, Brady Quinn, Drew Stanton, Trent Edwards, and Troy Smith all flaming out. The book is still out on Kevin Kolb, who gets his chance in Philly now that Donovan McNabb is gone.

Russell's release is proof that a rookie salary cap is needed in the NFL.

Handing a 21-year-old kid like Russell a mega-bucks deal is a giant mistake. For every Peyton Manning that can handle all the money, fame, and pressure that comes with it, there's a Leaf or a Russell—immature kids who get the big bucks and stop working or caring to be better.

Russell's problem is the money.

He got rich before he ever threw a pass in the NFL and became lazy.

He came to work out of shape, climbing close to 300 pounds, and some teammates have publicly stated he was more than comfortable being a backup and collecting his big, fat paycheck, than trying to be a great player.

Jimbo Fisher, former LSU offensive coordinator and current Florida State coach, told ESPN 760 that, "I never knew that guy," talking about the lazy player Russell has become.  "His work ethic for us—everything I ever asked him to do, he did.  He was smart. He carried three and four play packages at the line of scrimmage. He is very talented and very intelligent. Intelligence isn't an issue with him."

About the Author