Jason Campbell’s current situation just shows how quickly things change in the NFL. He went from an unsteady situation in Washington, to a starter with the Oakland Raiders, but a passer who had to prove himself to a fan base that clamored for the fiery Bruce Gradkowski.
Once Hue Jackson became coach, the Silver & Black empowered him and gave Campbell the keys to the car. An injury and a trade later, and Campbell is looking to fit in somewhere in this league.
At 28, Campbell landed in Oakland a quarterback who needed stability. In four prior campaigns, he dealt with a new offensive hierarchy practically every season and an unstable offensive line in 2009 that allowed 46 sacks (28th in the league). Yet he managed to start every game the last two years in Washington and improve on his statistics every campaign since entering the pros. In 2009, he topped all his career marks with 327 completions, 507 attempts, 3.618 passing yards, 20 touchdowns a completion percentage of 64.5% and a rating of 86.4.
With former teammates stating that all he needed was a shot to absorb a system and play in it with complete support, Oakland thought they had a passer who could develop into one of the more competent starters in the league.
But when he broke his collarbone versus the Cleveland Browns in 2011, his career took another detour.
That facilitated the Carson Palmer trade and Campbell’s possible exit out of Oakland.
From being the clear-cut signal caller atop the depth chart, enjoying a solid start to the season on his free-agent walk-year, to an injured commodity who will have to look long and hard at his options in the off-season.
Campbell was 11-7 as a starter with the Silver & Black and the Raiders were just 5-9 without him. That doesn’t scream franchise passer to anyone around the league, but some organizations sustain injuries, have a shaky depth chart or are looking to challenge their current quarterback.
It’s safe to say Campbell believes he can start and succeed in this league. But where?
Miami may or may not be ready to move forward with Matt Moore, so their new staff may look at Matt Flynn or another passer to come in and challenge. Acquiring a passer in the draft will also be an option there.
The Jets want to win a Super Bowl and Rex Ryan has already stated that bringing in a back up to put some heat on Mark Sanchez could be an option.
The Browns have been linked to some of the quarterbacks coming out this year in the draft and many other organizations such as the Vikings, Buccaneers, Titans, Jaguars and Panthers have recently made investments on youngsters that could lead their respective franchises.
Campbell has to look at the landscape and settle on a situation such as the Chiefs, Seahawks or Cardinals – destinations that have unsteady statuses at quarterback.
What about the Raiders?
It’s hard to imagine he takes a really massive cut in salary to return as the obvious back up behind Palmer.
Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen have already talked to Palmer, made clear their intentions to move forward with him and his hefty price tag.
Campbell will find a job in this league. He’s a pro’s pro and has shown a lot of maturity through his early years in dealing with the various systems thrown at him.
He’ll just have to realize that no job will be handed to him and wherever he signs, he’ll likely have to sit and wait on his opportunity, or play lights out in the pre-season and take the job from someone.