Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can Carson Palmer Be The Franchise Quarterback The Oakland Raiders Think He Is?

My first thought upon hearing that Carson Palmer was being traded to the Oakland Raiders for TWO first round picks was that Al Davis is somehow channeling his wishes from the great beyond.

Then I woke up and realized that perhaps it really WASN'T Al Davis who was making those crazy gambling decisions for the Raiders the past few years.

Okay, that's not true, either.  The Raiders are currently 4-2, playing very well, and in dire need of a quarterback after Jason Campbell got hurt this past week.  Another point is that Campbell is a free agent after the season, and it wasn't like he was lighting up the NFL.  The Raiders only have Kyle Boller and Terrelle Pryor as their backups.

Wouldn't you try to get a potential long-term starter if you could?  Carson Palmer has been sitting on ice since the end of last season after he reportedly told Cincinnati Bengals owner, Mike Brown, to trade him or he'd retire.  Brown has basically held onto him for 10 months, totally willing to allow Carson's career to wither away.

However, give credit where credit's due.  Raiders coach Hue Jackson used to coach under Brown, and they apparently still have a very good relationship.  Jackson probably knew that he had to up the stakes in order to get Brown to release Palmer, and I'm not surprised that it took a first round pick.

What I'm really surprised at is that the Raiders offered TWO first-round picks. Okay, technically, it's a first rounder in 2012 and a 2nd rounder in 2013, with a potential escalation to a first round pick if the Raiders win a playoff game this year.

Still, it's an egregiously generous move by the Raiders.  They must feel that Palmer is going to be the quarterback that the organization hasn't had since Rich Gannon's Super Bowl run.  Let's look at some evidence of whether that could be true:

  • Palmer has 97 games over seven years starting under his belt
  • Career stats: 62.9% completions; 154 TDs, 100 INTs, QB Rating of 86.9
  • Playing on possible the worst NFL team in the league during that entire time, Palmer led the Bengals to a 46-51 record while he started
  • He's had two serious injuries: a torn ACL/MCL in his left knee in the playoffs in 2006, and in 2008 he partially tore a tendon and ligament in his throwing elbow.   
Palmer clearly has the ability to be the big arm that the Raiders covet, but is he going to be worth the price they paid for him? Only time will tell.

Another thought: Would Palmer have taken the job if Al Davis was still alive?  Many people have turned down jobs with the Raiders over the years because of Davis.  It'll be interesting to see how the perception of the franchise changes over the coming months and years.

By the way, this isn't the boldest move I think ever made by an NFL team to acquire a quarterback.  Remember how the Bears grabbed Jay Cutler from the Broncos? The Bears had to give up a first round pick in 2009 AND 2010, as well as a 3rd round pick in 2009.  The bonus was also giving up Kyle Orton.  The Bears clearly suffered from the loss of both #1 picks (although the Broncos squandered them under Josh McDaniels), and even though they have had one deep playoff run, they seem to be a team lacking talent nowadays.

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