JaMarcus Russell to Chargers, Browns or Vikings?

In a column I wrote only a day ago I wrote at length about the strides JaMarcus Russell has made in his attempt at a comeback in the NFL. He’s lost over fifty lbs and is now weighing in at a - remember, all things are relative here - meagre 265 lbs.

With the return to his pre-draft weight, comes the return of his pre-draft arm according Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. With Rapoport also reporting that several NFL teams have expressed considerable interest in the former first overall pick, I would be remiss of my duties if I didn’t speculate as to which teams those may be - or at the very least, the three teams that make the most sense for Russell to join.

1. San Diego Chargers: Ideally, Russell makes his return to the AFC West as a member of the San Diego Chargers. This team would be the perfect landing spot for Russell, for a variety of reasons. For starters, it meets the desired need of having veteran quarterback to learn from with Philip Rivers still in tow. Speaking of Rivers, another season like last or god forbid anything worse, and the Chargers could be looking to move on from Rivers. If that were the case, opportunity would come knocking for Russell.

Another reason I like this fit is the coaching staff. If Mike McCoy can find a way to make Tim Tebow tolerable to watch and even moderately effective, just imagine what he could with Russell. There’s also Ken Whisenhunt at offensive coordinator, who has a history with husky quarterbacks having been the Steelers coordinator in the early stages of Roethlisberger’s career. This fit just makes an absurd amount of sense.

2. Cleveland Browns: While the Browns don’t have the kind of experienced quarterback Russell is looking to back up in his return to the league, they have a lot of other things going for them. The main reason I like Cleveland as a landing spot for Russell is newly hired offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and the system he runs. Turner loves to stretch the field and if Russell’s arm is anywhere near where it used to be, he certainly fits the mold of a Norv Turner quarterback. Opportunity beckons in Cleveland as well, with the Browns yet to even confirm Brandon Weeden as their starter and Jason Campbell presenting the only other alternative.

3. Minnesota Vikings: This one is a bit of stretch, but then again so is the thought of ever seeing Jamarcus Russell play another snap in the NFL. The only veteran quarterback (Matt Cassel) on this roster offers little in the way of valuable information to impart, so this team certainly doesn’t meet Russell’s criteria as an ideal fit. But maybe, Russell is the right fit for the Vikings. If the additions of Greg Jennings in free agency and Cordarrelle Patterson through the draft are indications of anything, it’s that the Vikings would like to stretch the field. I’m not so sure Ponder has the capability of doing that and he’s running out of time to prove otherwise in Minnesota. As highly unlikely as Russell going to Minnesota seems, I’ve seen crazier things happen.

You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV


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