If Al Davis is intent on keeping Russell, this is the way to do it.
Cutting Russell right now would be a favor, allowing him to potentially hitch a ride with another team. It also gives Russell time to learn the offense for that new team.
Keeping Russell around allows him to compete for *a* job on the team.
If the Raiders decide not to hold onto JaMarcus come cut down day, he will walk away with the $3 million and be hard-pressed to find another team.
This type of maneuver gives the Raiders serious leverage in trying to force Russell to take a pay cut.
If the report proves true, the Raiders are happy to keep JaMarcus around in a reserve roll or are intent on seeing how he responds to true competition.
I'll call ESPN out for reporting this both ways.
It is easy to float a rumor like this, the Raiders will never confirm the report and usually they don't even bother to deny it.
ESPN gets two stories for the price of one when, of course, they report the exact opposite of their previous report.
This type of yellow journalism has earned the network the name, "BSPN" from more than one member of the Raider Nation, something that isn't likely to go away until they stop reporting untrue or inaccurate information.