March 7, 2011RAIDERS PAGE RAIDERS VIDEOPaul Gutierrez
So Bruce Gradkowski tells a Bay Area newspaper he was not offered a tender by the Raiders and theres a hint of shock?
No disrespect to Gradkowski, one of the classier guys in the Raiders locker room, but its no surprise the Raiders issued protective tenders to the likes of tight end Zach Miller and running back Michael Bush (both received first- and third-round tenders) and longsnapper Jon Condo (second-round) rather than to Bruce Almighty. All you had to do was pay mind to the mounds of praise heaped upon Jason Campbell by owner Al Davis and new coach Hue Jackson since the season ended and the backhanded compliment Davis paid Gradkowski while wondering aloud about his injury history.
I also realized that as good as Gradkowski is for a single game, we cant hold up the injury factor from happening, Davis said in his memorable Jan. 18 media conference. He incurs injuries, and that worries the hell out of me.
At the Combine, Jackson said he looked forward to Campbell leading the Raiders to a division title after a season of getting acclimated to his new surroundings.
Over the last half of the season, he did a tremendous job of leading our team and making the plays that big-time players have to make in this league, Jackson said of Campbell. So Im expecting him to take that next jump. Were an 8-8 football teamthis past year, but I dont anticipate or do I look for that to happen this year. I expect him to take us where we want to go.
As such, and with the trigger-happy Tom Cable long gone, there will be no quarterback controversy in Oakland in 2011. Campbell is the unquestioned starter. And while Gradkowski was too much of a professional to be a distraction in Cables QB Carousel, the journeyman quarterback has long let it known he does not consider himself a backup.
Last year, Gradkowski was 1-3 in his four starts, though he sparked the comeback victory against St. Louis; Campbell was 7-5 in his 12 starts and came off the bench to lead the comeback win against San Diego at home.
Cable so badly mismanaged the QB situation he turned Campbell into a sympathetic figure and Gradkowski into a teachers pet -- profiles neither man deserved.
REWIND: Oakland's 2010 QB quandary
It all adds up to a seeming end to Gradkowskis tenure in Oakland -- according to the Contra Costa Times article -- unless it does not.
Thing is, the tenders might actually be worthless in a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. And if so, the lack of one assigned to a player would mean less than that.
Gradkowski, who worked as an NFL playoff analyst for CSN Bay Area in January, did not immediately return a message for comment. He complied a passer rating of 73.3 in two seasons in Oakland, with 2,066 yards on 53.7 percent passing, 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He will always be remembered by Raiders fans for his epic comeback victory at Pittsburgh in 2009, and for his two seasons ending prematurely due to injury.
Still, its hard to imagine Gradkowski -- a five-year pro who received a second-round tender last year -- returning to the Raiders without at least the chance to compete for the starting gig.
Plus, theres the speculation that a new CBA will set the bar at unrestricted free agency at four years, down from six. As such, Gradkowski would be free to sign elsewhere.
And that would leave the Raiders with just one quarterback under contract in Campbell as the contracts of Kyle Boller, Charlie Frye and J.T. O'Sullivan are expiring. Frye has a reputation as a coach-like backup in the QB room after spending all of last season on IR while Boller saw some reps and has a little history with Jackson.
VIDEO: Gradkowski's offseason workout
With Campbell entering the final year of his contract, could the Raiders then look at drafting a quarterback in the draft? Many mock drafts have Washingtons Jake Locker and Arkansas Ryan Mallett falling into the second round. The Raiders first pick is at No. 48, though many draftniks have them selecting Penn State offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski.