Word around Raider circles is that Hue Jackson has complete control over personnel decisions. He is already throwing his weight around. Jason Campbell goes down with what could be a season ending injury and it turns out to be a Raider career ending injury as Hue Jackson bet the Raiders’ future to get Carson Palmer as his replacement.
That future he is betting on Palmer includes the Raiders’ 2012 first round pick and a conditional 2013 first round pick. The 2013 pick is a second rounder that becomes a first rounder if the Raiders make the AFC Championship game in one of the next two seasons. Either way it is a steep price for a 31 year old quarterback who hasn’t been to a Pro Bowl in five years.
Bengals owner Mike Brown has stated several times that he would be unwilling to “reward” Palmer for holding out and “retiring” but that was before any team had stepped up and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Palmer could be the starter in Cincinnati right now and they likely would have shipped him out for that offer.
Not only is Palmer closer to the twilight of his career than the dawn, he has suffered from several knee and ankle injuries in recent seasons, though I suppose that is what the conditional pick is for–but giving up even one first round pick is too much if Palmer doesn’t perform.
Hue Jackson likes to say he’s “living on the edge” but up to this point it appears the presence of Al Davis was the only thing keeping him from going over that edge.
Don’t get me wrong, Carson Palmer was the only viable candidate out there. If the Raiders don’t get Palmer, they would need to ride with Boller as their starter as none of the available free agents would be worthy of starting over him. David Garrard was a candidate intitially but he soon took himself out of the picture when he announced he needs back surgery.
Palmer was it. Hue clearly didn’t feel comfortable with Boller as the Raiders’ starter but little did we know just how uncomfortable he was with that prospect.
This move has seriously altered the fates of Kyle Boller and Jason Campbell.
For Boller it shows that Hue has no confidence in his ability to win. It shows that Hue thinks of him as a backup and nothing more, and destroys his confidence as a quarterback. As if the press conference in which Hue all but stated that the team was looking for a “championship quarterback” didn’t already tell him he wasn’t considered to be one.
For Campbell, it effectively ends his career as a Raider. The man who was seen as the Raiders’ long term answer just two days ago is now tossed on the scrap heap. He went down with a broken collarbone two days before the NFL trade deadline and that sealed his fate.
The bright side for the Raiders is that outside of the 2008 season during much of which Palmer was injured, he threw for over 3000 yards in every season but his first full season. He has thrown for over 4000 yards twice and missed that plateau by just 30 yards last season. In his five full seasons since 2005 he has averaged over 26 touchdowns a seasons.
The darker side is that he has averaged over 15 interceptions in that time as well, throwing 20 interceptions twice including last season. He has taken the Bengals to the playoffs twice in his tenure as their starting quarterback but has never been able to win a playoff game.
After the Bengals swept their division in 2009 en route to the playoffs, they could muster just four wins in 2010. As a result, the disgruntled Palmer made his decision never to suit up as a Bengal again. He threatened to retire if they didn’t trade him, and up until today it seemed he would stay retired.
Now an injury to Jason Campbell pulls Palmer from retirement, pushes Campbell out of Oakland, and sends Boller back to the sideline.
This also means the Raiders have traded away their first, second, third, fourth, and seventh round picks in 2012 and possibly their first and fifth round picks in 2013. The two 2013 picks are conditional based on playing time and performance of Palmer and recently acquired linebacker Aaron Curry. The Raiders could also be receiving some compensatory picks for the free agent losses of Nnamdi Asomugha, Robert Gallery, and Zach Miller. Those picks are decided by various factors including playing time and performance and offset by Raider free agent acquisitons so it is yet to be determined what the Raiders will receive.
This move is a bold statement by Hue Jackson that says the Raiders are trading away their future because the future is now and he is going all in.