Reggie McKenzie and the Oakland Raiders have a decision to make. Quarterback Carson Palmer has reportedly balked at the Raiders’ efforts to get him to restructure a contract that will earn him $13 million this season.
The Raiders gave up their 2012 first round draft pick and their second round pick in this year’s draft to acquire the “retired” Palmer from Cincinnati in 2011.
While Palmer put up solid numbers for Oakland last season, the trade was exceedingly lopsided and the former Heisman Trophy winner has not come close to being worth the picks of the money the Raiders have given up for him.
Prior to this news, McKenzie previously stated that third year quarterback Terrelle Pryor was “more than ready” to compete with Palmer for the starting job.
Now, the Raiders have a decision to make regarding whether or not to release Palmer to free up additional cap room to address needs at receiver, both lines, and the defensive backfield. Such a decision would have to calculate whether Pryor truly is ready, and if the Raiders are willing to set themselves up for what will certainly be another low win total.
Oakland has the #3 overall pick in the NFL Draft and previously dealt away their 2nd and 5th round picks. The Raiders must contemplate whether or not to trade the pick to allow the team to add more pieces to a roster devoid of competitive NFL talent.
The primary action thus far this offseason for the Raiders has been to unload underperforming stars, and they could still release Palmer, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, and linebacker Rolando McClain.The team has also added three defensive linemen and three linebackers who could compete for starting jobs next season.
Top offensive tackle prospects Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel, defensive end Dion Jordan, defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Sharrif Floyd, and cornerback Dee Milliner are seen as the top prospects available for Oakland at the #3 pick. Some have speculated that the team could reach and take West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith as well.
It has been 10 seasons since the Raiders had a winning product and general manager Reggie McKenzie has systematically dismantled the organization and gotten rid of the pieces that were emblematic of the haphazard way of doing things, with the hopes of being able to rebuild the chaotic franchise to one that can once again produce competitive NFL teams.
If Palmer, Kelly, and McClain are released, virtually all of the inexplicable deals, contracts, and picks from the final years of the Al Davis era will be gone. If the Raiders are able to add a few key pieces and put together a logical NFL Draft, it will be clear that a new era has begun in Oakland although it is unlikely that results will be seen on the field this season.