The Raiders signed Jamarcus Russell to a six-year contract that guaranteed him $32 million as the No. 1 pick of the 2007 NFL draft — he earned a base salary of $7.8 million this season.
The Raiders could cut Russell after this season and take just a modest salary-cap hit.
He is slated to earn base salaries of $9.45 million next season, $9.35 million in 2011 and $5.83 million in 2012.
By comparison, the Raiders are paying Gradkowski $535,000 this season and No. 3 quarterback Charlie Frye $620,000. Both players' contracts expire at season's end.
The sticking point could come if the Raiders ask Russell to restructure his contract to better reflect his current status. If Russell refuses, that might force the Raiders' hand once and for all.