JaMarcus Russell will forever be known as one of the biggest bust in NFL history, but at least he will not have to worry about money ever again.
Russell has not played a down since the 2009 season, but due to a recent court settlement, the Oakland Raiders are going to have to pay him $3 million.
There were high hopes for Russell coming out of LSU, hence the Raiders taking him with the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. Thanks to a collective bargaining agreement that was player-friendly and a good agent, Oakland signed Russell to a six-year, $68 million with $31.5 million guaranteed contract before knowing if he would live up to his promise.
His inability to do so has earned him the dubious distinction of being called the biggest bust in NFL draft history. After going 7-18 over three seasons and earning a QB rating of just 65.2, the Raiders cut him loose after the 2009 season.
They were not satisfied with having him gone though. The team wanted some money back and sued Russell for $9.55 million in salary advances. Russell countered with a suit of his own for $9 million.
Technically, according to the language in his contract the Raiders were still supposed to pay Russell an additional $3 million after his release. Neither the Raiders or Russell’s current agent have commented on the case, but back in 2010 his former agent, Eric Metz, had this to say to Yahoo! Sports: “The money in question was fully guaranteed. That is why JaMarcus was forced to hold out and miss all of training camp as a rookie.”
Russell has been working at a comeback this off-season with the help of former NFL great Jeff Garcia. While he has yet to be invited into camp, his physical and mental transformation has been well-documented in the media.
“He is a committed young man, a young man that knew he blew an opportunity, he missed out on an opportunity back in the day,” Garcia said.
NFL glory is likely never going to be his, but whether he plays again or not since the Raiders are paying him close to $3 million his career at least gained him some financial stability–assuming he has learned from past mistakes and is smart with his money.