Quarterbacks play for a job -- elsewhere

It's not likely the Raiders will take four quarterbacks into the regular season. JaMarcus Russell, if he ever signs a contract, is the only one guaranteed of a roster spot, meaning either Daunte Culpepper, Josh McCown or Andrew Walter will have to go.

Walter's name has come up a lot, primarily because he was at the helm for a portion of last year's offensive disaster. He's continued to have his share of problems in training camp, and was quarterbacking the offense when it committed its only two turnovers.

But Walter's roster spot is probably secure. Raiders owner Al Davis was so fond of Walter that he passed over Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler in last year's draft. And during his press conference earlier this week, Davis made it a point to defend Walter.

Culpepper, if his knee and the rest of his body can stay healthy, isn't going anywhere, either. The Raiders like that he and Russell have similar styles and would love to have someone like Culpepper around to mentor the youngster. It's not even a stretch to say that Culpepper is likely to open the season as Oakland's starting quarterback.

That leaves McCown, the journeyman quarterback who hasn't thrown a pass in a regular season game since 2005. McCown was part of the draft day trade with Detroit and was brought to Oakland originally with the intent of being the starter until Russell was deemed ready. Instead, he finds himself fighting for a roster spot.

McCown has more trade value than Walter does were the Raiders to go that direction. They could play McCown the first two preseason games to showcase him to the rest of the league and see which teams, at that point, are in need of a quarterback. Atlanta no doubt will need one.

If a trade isn't worked out, cutting McCown rather than Walter also makes the most sense. McCown, like Culpepper, signed a one-year deal, meaning the Raiders wouldn't take a hit to the salary cap because of any accelerated bonus money. If Oakland were to cut Walter, they'd take a ding on the cap, though not a significant one.

The last point is this: McCown sat behind Jon Kitna in Detroit last season and played in only two games. Never once did he attempt a pass. The 28-year-old can't afford to languish on the sidelines for two straight years. That's why he signed with Oakland in the first place, to put up something on tape in order to cash in as a free agent next year.

Then again, maybe no one goes anywhere. If one in the bunch gets hurt, all bets are off.

SB Report Top Stories