Why the Oakland Raiders Would Be Wise to Release Carson Palmer

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystMarch 25, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 18: Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders drops back to pass against the New Orleans Saints during the second quarter of an NFL football game at O.co Coliseum on November 18, 2012 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

In October 2011, the Oakland Raiders sent their first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, along with a second-round pick in the 2013 draft, to the Cincinnati Bengals for quarterback Carson Palmer, hopeful that the veteran would lead the team to its first postseason berth since 2002.

Now, less than two years later, the Raiders aren't any closer to the playoffs than they were when Palmer arrived. It's time for the team to bite the bullet and end the Carson Palmer "era" in Oakland.

The reason for this is simple. Money.

As in the Raiders don't have much of it under the salary cap, and Palmer apparently isn't inclined to help in that regard.

At least that's the latest from ESPN's Adam Schefter, who tweeted Monday that the 33-year-old is unwilling to restructure a contract that will pay him a whopping $13 million in base salary this season.

If that's the case, then Palmer needs to be released. Now. There's no point in waiting.

Nor is there any real point in further hand-wringing about the ill-fated trade that brought Palmer to Oakland to begin with. It was a knee-jerk reaction to then-starter Jason Campbell breaking his collarbone, born of the power vacuum created by the death of Al Davis.

Was it a bad trade? Absolutely. But it's over now. No turning back.

Now it's about moving forward and that means cutting Palmer loose.

It's not that Palmer has been a huge bust. He's played reasonably well in his year and a half or so in Oakland, completing just over 60 percent of his passes. He's thrown more touchdown passes than interceptions, and last year he eclipsed 4,000 passing yards.

However, Palmer hasn't exactly been lights-out. In 2012 Palmer ranked 19th among quarterbacks according to Pro Football Focus, and he turned the ball over that same number of times.

Simply put, at this point in his career, Carson Palmer is an average quarterback.

Rebuilding football teams with very little cap space do not pay 33-year-old average quarterbacks $13 million, especially when that team can free up $6 million in cap space by cutting that quarterback loose.

Not only can the Raiders do that, according to Steve Corkran of The Contra Costa Times, but Corkran also points out that there's no "dead money" after this year.

That's just one more reason to rip off the band-aid that Carson Palmer is as the Raiders' quarterback and move on.

There have been numerous reports linking the Raiders to West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, who Corkran reports the Raiders watched work out at West Virginia's recent pro day.

With that said, though, there were 29 teams at that pro day, and the Raiders' "interest" in Smith could be more about drumming up interest in the third overall pick than it is about Smith himself.

The thing is, it doesn't really matter if it's Geno Smith, or Matt Barkley, or Terrelle Pryor or another name altogether that's the future at quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

What matters is that a 33-year-old player unwilling to take a pay cut is most definitely not the future at quarterback for the Raiders. It's time to just be done with it and release Carson Palmer.