I am first and foremost a 49ers fan, but like anyone who grew up in the Bay Area, I also closely follow the Raiders. That was a little hard last season, when most of their home games were blacked out. But they now have a real chance to do something that could begin to get them back on the road to respectablity.
As you may have heard, the Raiders can't seem to sign JaMarcus Russell. The core problem is Al Davis and Russell can't come to terms on guaranteed money in Russell's contract. Obviously Russell has the upper hand, seeing as contracts for #1 picks have increased fairly steadily in gauranteed money in recent years.
Since neither side is budging yet, and the season is on the verge of starting, perhaps there's another move the Raiders could make that's simple and totally logical.
Trade Russell to the Atlanta Falcons.
Before you fly off the handle and go nuts, and point out that the trading deadline for draft picks has passed, let's think about this logically for a moment and why it would work.
1. It would be very simple - if both teams agreed to this - to have a sign and trade. The Raiders would sign Russell to a contract that Atlanta would agree to pay him.
2. The Atlanta Falcons desperately need a QB. Right now they have Harrington, who sucks, and Chris Redman, who hasn't thrown a pass in the league since 1984. Since DJ Shockley is lost for the season, there's a serious lack of depth at QB. Getting their hands on a #1 pick QB who they could build around in the wake of the Vick fiasco would be an incredible turnaround for this team.
3. Atlanta is about to free up some major cap space. As soon as Vick pleads guilty to dogfighting charges, his $130 million contract can be torn to pieces on the spot thanks to what have become standard behaviorial clauses in professional sports contracts. Vick won't see another penny, and will likely lose some change in the process. And if you think he's ever going to play in Atlanta again, you're nuts. Vick directly lied to owner Arthur Blank (and Goodell) about whether he participated in dogfighting. And Blank is furious. So Atlanta will suddenly have a lot of money to throw around.
4. The Raiders appear completely unable to strike a deal with Russell, and since they already have Dante Culpepper, Russell is expendable. Plus, it's clear that the Raiders need more than just Russell to rebuild. They need an entire offense. So why not ship Russell off to Atlanta for some future draft picks and a few offensive players. They can always draft another QB in the future who they likely won't have to pay as much.
5. The deal makes incredible sense for both teams. Both teams would benefit from a trade, and both teams desperately need help immediately. It'd also be extremely easy to make sure everything fits under the salary cap.
But here's why I'm afraid this won't work. It's simply too logical. And logic is something that seems totally foreign to most sports GMs and owners. Yes Al Davis, you no longer have any logic at all. You're crazy, and likely senile.
ESPN talked about how Atlanta was looking at Chris Simms of all people. Why? For God's sake, what is Simms going to do for you that Harrington isn't. Both suck.
This is a dream scenario for both teams. Atlanta quickly forgets the Vick trainwreck by bringing in a QB to build around for years while the Raiders get multiple position players and draft picks that within two years could bring them back to respectability.
Too bad this will never happen.