The Oakland Raiders traded quarterback Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals on Tuesday, putting an end to one of the worst deals in the history of sports. The Raiders have been bad for the better part of 25 years now, and the Palmer fiasco assures that they will remain one of the worst teams in the NFL for years to come.
It’s difficult to put into words how bad the deal with Palmer is for the Raiders, but we’ll give it a shot. In 2011, the Raiders appeared to be on the verge of becoming a playoff team when their starting quarterback Jason Campbell got hurt. In a desperate move to save their season, the Raiders traded for Palmer.
In order to get him, they gave up a first and second-round draft pick for a quarterback who hadn’t played a meaningful snap in almost two years. In addition to the inactivity, Palmer had not played well in years, but the Raiders paid a King’s Ransom to get him.
Predictably, it did not work. The Raiders struggled with Palmer at quarterback for the remainder of 2011 and missed the playoffs. The 2012 season was a complete disaster and Palmer, despite good numbers, was completely ineffective. As the season ended, Palmer did the same thing to the Raiders that he did to the Cincinnati Bengals. He quit, refusing to restructure his contract and forcing the Raiders to trade him.
The jury is still out on whether or not Palmer will work with the Cardinals, but this much is true — the Raiders are in a world of trouble and they have only themselves to blame.
They still do not have an answer at quarterback unless you really believe in Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor. In return for Palmer, the Raiders received a conditional seventh-round pick (remember they gave up a first and a second-round pick for him).
Palmer is already gone from the Raiders, and the Bengals still haven’t even used the first of the picks they received for him. The Raiders also had to part with another draft pick to acquire Flynn, who may or may not be the answer.
Then there’s this, which might be the worst part of the whole deal: Palmer, who will be playing for the Cardinals in 2013, will still count for $9.3 million against the Raiders salary cap. So not only do the Raiders not have an answer at quarterback, the most important position in sports, they have no money to improve the team anywhere else.
For years, the Raiders refused to believe that they were in desperate need of rebuilding, and they kept going after the quick fix. Now the bill has come due and the organization has no way to pay it. The NFL is better when the Raiders are relevant, but that’s not happening anytime soon.
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