Russell flies to Bay Area to sign record deal with Raiders Print
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Tuesday, 11 September 2007 14:45
NFL Headline News

 ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) -Quarterback JaMarcus Russell arrived in the Bay Area on Tuesday to sign a record rookie deal with the Oakland Raiders and end the longest holdout in more than two decades by the league's top pick.
Lawyers for the Raiders and Russell were reviewing the final details of the six-year, $61 million contract, but no holdups were expected, according to two people familiar with the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. Russell was expected to sign in time to join his new team for practice Wednesday.
Russell will be guaranteed a record $29 million, the highest amount allowed under the NFL's rookie salary pool rules, and would get an additional $3 million if he reaches minimal playing time incentives, the two people said.
Russell would earn the $3 million bonus in 2010 if he takes 35 percent of the team's snaps this year, 45 percent in 2008 or 50 percent in 2009. If Russell hit all the incentives in the deal, it would be worth $68 million.
The previous record deal for a rookie was when the Detroit Lions gave No. 2 pick Calvin Johnson $27.2 million in guarantees this year. Top pick Mario Williams got $26.5 million in guaranteed money a year ago from Houston.
A Raiders spokesman declined to comment on the status of the talks. Russell's agent, Eric Metz, did not return a phone call seeking comment.
The marathon talks the past few days have brought an end to the longest holdout for a top pick since 1986. Bo Jackson chose to play baseball instead of signing with Tampa Bay that year. He went back into the draft in 1987 and was taken in the seventh round by the Raiders, starting a two-sport career.
The last first-round pick not to be signed by the season opener was offensive lineman Bryant McKinnie, who missed the first eight games in 2002 after being selected with the seventh overall pick by the Minnesota Vikings.
It's unlikely Russell will be able to contribute much this season after missing the entire preseason and the season opener against Detroit.
Josh McCown started in the Raiders' 36-21 loss to the Lions and was backed up by Daunte Culpepper and Andrew Walter. The Raiders will get a two-week roster exemption after Russell signs, but it's unlikely they would keep four quarterbacks after that.
Russell went 25-4 as LSU's starting quarterback, finishing his career with the Tigers by throwing the second most touchdown passes (52) and having the second highest completion percentage (61.9 percent) in school history.
 

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