Last Sunday when Jason Campbell left the game cradling his throwing arm the Raiders’ whole season flashed before my eyes. His back-up (Kyle Boller aka Mr. Carrie Prejean) is one of those guys whose potential has never turned into reality. The other alternative was Terrell Pryor, a college phenom who hasn’t played a down in the NFL.
In keeping with his “the time is now” mantra, Raiders coach Hue Jackson orchestrated a trade which brought Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer to Oakland in exchange for a first-round draft pick in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013.
The deal was first reported by Fox Sports and ESPN. The Raiders confirmed the trade Tuesday afternoon and handed Palmer jersey No. 3.
Palmer, who turns 32 in December, refused to play for Cincinnati this season, threatening to sit out the season rather than collect $11.5 million in salary. The Raiders lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell Sunday for a minimum of six weeks with a broken right collarbone.
Campbell was scheduled for surgery Monday and hoped to return, but the deal effectively makes Palmer the Raiders’ quarterback of the future. Campbell is not under contract in 2012 while Palmer has scheduled salaries of $11.5 million in 2012, $14 million in 2013 and $15 million in 2014.
The deal for Palmer nearly wipes out the Raiders’ 2012 draft, although there will be as-yet-determined compensatory picks for the loss of free agents such as Nnamdi Asomugha and Robert Gallery. The Raiders can also trade existing players for picks as the draft approaches.
Last week, the Raiders traded for Seattle linebacker Aaron Curry and inserted him directly into the starting lineup. It remains to be seen whether they can do the same with Palmer, who has had no training camp and missed the first six games of the season.
If not, the starter against Kansas City on Sunday will be Kyle Boller, who finished the Cleveland game and was 8-for-14 for 100 yards with no turnovers.
Palmer has reportedly been working out on his own with former NFL quarterback Ken O’Brien in case he was traded. Bengals president Mike Brown had been steadfast in his desire to not trade Palmer until the Raiders made such a substantial offer.
Jackson dropped hints at his Monday press conference that he was looking to make a deal and cited a quarterback’s familiarity with both himself and the system as important.
The Raiders coach was the wide receivers coach in Cincinnati from 2004 through 2006 and quarterbacks coach at USC in 2000 when Palmer was the starter.
The Raiders don’t need a great quarterback right now, they just need a good one. They have enough talent (thanks to lots of first round draft picks due to losing seasons) that a competent journeyman can get them to the playoffs.
The Raiders have a history of acquiring players off the scrap heap and squeezing a few good years out of them. Time will tell if this was another such pick-up.
OTOH, they certainly didn’t have much to lose.
I expect Boller to start on Sunday against Kansas City in Oakland. If Palmer plays in the game it will be because Boller gets hurt or the Raiders are losing badly. Next week is a bye week, then Denver at home.