Jets interested in ex-Raider Russell?

NEW YORK -- When he was hired in 2006, New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum vowed to look under every rock in an effort to procure talent. That apparently includes discarded boulders.

Sources tell ESPNNewYork.com that the Jets have checked on JaMarcus Russell, and they have cursory interest in the former Oakland Raiders bust who was cut recently after reportedly ballooning to 300 pounds.

The Jets are looking to acquire a veteran quarterback before training camp and, while league sources maintain that free agent Mark Brunell remains the odds-on favorite, Tannenbaum isn't ignoring other options. Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, is training in Arizona, trying to get in shape. Sources say the Arizona Cardinals or the Minnesota Vikings are the most likely landing spot for Russell, but the Jets have inquired by phone and received positive reports.

The Jets wouldn't be handcuffed by the NFL's "Final Eight" rules if they decide to sign Russell; that's because he was released by another team. To sign Brunell, an unrestricted free agent, the Jets would have to wait until late July, when the restrictions are lifted.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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