Raiders Holding on to Gradkowski

By Joe Kukura
|  Tuesday, Mar 2, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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The Raiders are holding on to Bruce Gradkowski.

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In a move seemingly designed to make sure someone is breathing down JaMarcus Russell’s neck, the Raiders have made a move to lock up quarterback Bruce Gradkowski for another season.

David White reports in the Chronicle that the Raiders have offered the Big Gradkowski  a second round restricted free agent salary tender. Per the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, Gradkowski cannot refuse this tender. 

First, a little explanation about this business of "tendering" restricted free agents. It's a word NFL fans are hearing a lot about this week, and typically we don't hear the word "tender" very often in football unless we're discussing a dirty hit applied to the south of the suspenders region

Gradkowski is a restricted free agent, meaning any other team that signs him may have to give the Raiders something in return. Whether they do depends on whether the Raiders offered Gradkowski a "tender", that is, a generous guaranteed salary that the other team would have to match, plus give the Raiders draft picks for that player.

There are three options an NFL team has if they want to tender an offer to a restricted free agent, these options are explained nice and simply on some random Buffalo Bills' fan blog. The Raiders chose the second round tender, meaning Gradkowski has been guaranteed a $1.6 million salary for 2010, and any other team that wants him would have to match that salary plus give the Raiders a second round draft pick in return.

Al Davis will gay-marry Lane Kiffin before an NFL team offers a second round draft pick for a journeyman backup out of Toledo with a career 65.9 quarterback rating.

Since Gradkowski cannot refuse the offer, the Raiders have essentially guaranteed that Gradkowski stays with them for at least one more season. If Gradkowski turns out a be lightning in a bottle, he'll be lightning in a bottle for the Raiders.

Tom Cable, who spent the week conducting official 2010 NFL Combine business on behalf of the Oakland Raiders so I guess for the time being we really should consider him the head coach for the 2010 season, told the Oakland Tribune that it will be open competition for the starting quarterback job. "Let the job be competed for," Cable said, "That’s where we’re at in terms of our starting quarterback."

Somebody ought to remind this guy that he cut Jeff Garcia last training camp. But, to Cable's credit, this time he's not going to let the overachieving backup slip away.

 Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who admires Gradkowski for accepting his seven-figure salary like a man instead of bitching about it on Twitter like Shawn Merriman.

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