What will $68 million over six years buy a team? Yes, JaMarcus Russell, but the Raiders hoped that they'd be securing their future.
Russell patiently waited and learned in his freshman year in the NFL, dutifully charting plays on his clipboard and relaying plays to Josh McCown. His patience was rewarded with a start in the final game of the season.
In his second year, Russell was finally named the number one guy in Oakland. He performed admirably, racking up an impressive 2,423 yards with a 53.8 percent completion ratio—not bad.
Not bad, but definitely not good, either. His 26th ranking among NFL quarterbacks and the Raiders' measly five victories are not the expected results for a $68 million man.
To help Russell become more productive and to set the Raiders on the right track to start winning, the Raiders drafted Darrius Heyward-Bey in the first round. Heyward-Bey is a speed burner that will give Russell a guy that goes and chases down the deep ball, something that the Raiders were lacking last year.
This year, there will be a lot more expectations for Russell to perform at his "real" level, now that he has a couple of years under his belt. One only has to look at the performance of others at his position once they hit their second year starting.
The second starting year usually shows a dramatic increase across all statistical categories for those that will be successful. So, this year, Raiders fans, catch a glimpse of what your future holds.
Will it be a glimpse of greatness, or a glimpse of continued mediocrity?