The Raiders, Naturally, Have NFL's Highest Payroll; JaMarcus Russell Among Highest Paid

Say this for Raiders owner Al Davis: His team's losing isn't due to a lack of effort on his part. Sure, he may not know how to win in today's NFL, but he can sign blank checks with the best of them, as demonstrated by the salary data released by USA Today.

According to the data, Oakland currently sits atop the NFL with a payroll of $152 million, $6 million more than the No. 2 team on the list, the Dallas Cowboys. Oakland and Dallas are the only teams spending over $140 million, while only the Saints, Vikings and Browns join them in the $130 million club. The Kansas City Chiefs currently have the lowest payroll at $83 million, and have only one fewer win than the Raiders.

The Raiders are currently on pace to win four games this season, and should they reach that mark Davis will have spent, roughly, $38 million per win. Should they hold steady at two wins, well, that would be $76 million per win.

So, how did the Raiders get to the top of the NFL's pay scale? By overpaying a lot of bad players, it would appear.

USA Today also provides us with a list of the top-25 highest paid players in the league, which contains three Raiders. The list not only illustrates a major problem in the league's salary structure, but also how a team can spend the most money in the league and still be one of the worst teams on the field every Sunday.

Second-year quarterback JaMarcus Russell may not be a bust at this point, but he is, currently, the fourth-highest paid player in the NFL, pulling down $16 million in 2008. Maybe it's just me, but I don't think Russell has done anything to warrant such a lofty position in the NFL's top tax bracket. After all, he's completing 48% of his passes (worst in the NFL) with a 69.0 passer rating.

But it continues. Defensive tackle Tommy Kelly -- reportedly on Davis' "list" of players who could be released at any time -- is the tenth-highest paid player in the NFL this year at $13 million. Joining him just 12 spots down? Wide Receiver Javon Walker who is on the books for $12 million. Or, just about $1 million per catch through the first eight games.

After Russell, Kelly and Walker, Nnamdi Asomugha ($9 million) and Gibril Wilson ($9 million) round out the Raiders' top-five. Only Asomugha seems like a good deal.

The Raiders, Naturally, Have NFL's Highest Payroll; JaMarcus Russell Among Highest Paid originally appeared on NFL FanHouse on Fri, 07 Nov 2008 00:40:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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