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Sporting News: CZAR: Gannon should stay in Oakland


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CZAR: Gannon should stay in Oakland


Now the ball is in Rich Gannon's court. Does he restructure his $7 million contract downward with the Oakland Raiders?

Despite the expected signing of ex-Giants quarterback Kerry Collins, the Raiders would like to retain Gannon, the league MVP only two seasons ago. However, they want his contract cut in half. There is room for both quarterbacks on the Oakland roster this season. In fact, Norv Turner said in a Tuesday conference call that Gannon would enter the season as the starter — Collins was also on the call, saying he was told he joined the team as a backup.

The Raiders structured Collins' contract for down the road. He received a $1.5 million signing bonus, but more than 50 percent of his three-year $16 million contract is earmarked for the 2006 season. This means the Raiders have Collins under contract as their starter in 2005 and if he doesn't work out, they can cut him loose.

It has been rumored for weeks that Tampa Bay Bucs coach Jon Gruden would jump at the chance to sign Gannon. Maybe he would, but Tampa's offer probably would be less than what Gannon can receive in Oakland.

What Gannon also needs to understand is that if his right shoulder is right and if he adapts well to Turner's system, he can still be the starter in Oakland this season. There are no such guarantees in Tampa Bay, where Gruden wants to focus training camp on getting youngster Chris Simms ready.

The Bucs have Brad Johnson, who beat Gannon in the Super Bowl, and Brian Griese in reserve.

If Gannon opts to leave Oakland, and Tampa Bay doesn't sign him, his best shot could be in Baltimore. The Ravens are looking for veteran help. They have offered a job to Kordell Stewart and definitely would be interested in Brad Johnson if he became available.

Clarett must sit

The coaches might want running back Maurice Clarett back at Ohio State, but the administration is against the move, meaning the running back will have to go to Canada, play small college football or sue the NCAA for a position at a Division I school. The highly conservative 2nd District Federal Court shot down Clarett's appeal on Monday, meaning he won't be eligible to join a NFL team until the 2005 draft.

USC was prepared for this anti-Clarett decision and is trying to convince talented receiver Mike Williams into enrolling for the second summer session, where he needs to pass nine credits in order to be eligible for football in September. Even though Williams hired an agent, the school and the Pac-10 will support his reinstatement with the NCAA. Williams, thinking he was a top-15 draft selection, opted to leave once Clarett won his initial court decision.

Although Clarett found a sympathetic jurist in Shira Scheidlin, who ruled he should be eligible for the draft, the league always believed that they had a strong case with the U.S. Supreme Court and the 2nd District. The conservative makeup of those jurists proved to support the league's guidelines over what many laymen thought was simply Clarett's right to work. Instead, the courts sided with big business, the NFL, in this particular case.

Notes and thoughts

The owners are currently meeting in Jacksonville with updates on the current network television talks and the Los Angeles situation on the agenda. They might also formally approve a three-year contract extension for Commissioner Paul Tagliabue

No one really thinks the Saints will be leaving New Orleans, but the state is short more than $7 million on their $15 million payment due on July 5 and the team would have the option to bolt the city in 75 days should they view the state's shortfall as a violation of their current contract

The final cuts in Oakland could be very interesting this August. In fact, it's looking like Jerry Rice would beat out Tim Brown for the lone old-man receiver spot. The team is high on Doug Gabriel as a speedy receiver complement to Jerry Porter.

The Raiders are also very pleased with their first looks at center Jake Grove, their second-round pick. Barret Robbins, who is coming off a serious knee surgery, could be facing retirement decisions

Rookie guard Justin Smiley looks like a starter for the 49ers based on his minicamp workouts

The Saints would trade WR Joe Horn if they could get a second-rounder for him. The team is that excited about Donte Stallworth and LSU rookie Devery Henderson at the receiver position

The one thing the Giants should seriously consider before signing Kurt Warner is that he has lost his last eight starts in the NFL. And the word in New Jersey is that Vinny Testaverde would rather have the Giants' job than going to the sidelines with the Cowboys

Based on how he ran down the stretch for the Titans, it sounds odd that the club would be leaning toward releasing RB Eddie George over his $4.5 million contract.

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Originally posted by bubba9497

CZAR: Gannon should stay in Oakland

Notes and thoughts

The final cuts in Oakland could be very interesting this August. In fact, it's looking like Jerry Rice would beat out Tim Brown for the lone old-man receiver spot. The team is high on Doug Gabriel as a speedy receiver complement to Jerry Porter.

Interesting. These guys are older than God, its about time one of them (or both of them) were done. It's too bad neither has the good grace to realize that they are past their prime and should retire.

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