The Raiders have finally completed their cycle of Carson Palmer shame, and the return is…no words.
Well, there are words, but typing between snot spitting laughter is difficult. A trade that’s been called imminent for the past two days is now something more than that, as according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Palmer has officially been traded to the Arizona Cardinals. For what? A conditional seventh-round pick in 2014 if he starts 13 games. A swap of 2013 picks (the Cardinals’ sixth rounder, for the Raiders’ seventh rounder) was also included.
Now to be clear, no one should have expected much more than that, with Palmer’s trade value exceedingly low due to his age, and his reputation as a statue in a league where quarterbacks are increasingly mobile. On its own then, the Raiders fetching the absolute minimum draft pick isn’t surprising. But the real comedy comes when that pick — again for the appropriate emphasis, the lowest on the board — has to be qualified with the condition that Palmer starts at least 13 games next year.
Palmer starting 13 games is, of course, highly likely. Sure, he’s had two major injuries, most notably 2005 when his knee combusted, and then his 2010 shoulder injury that he arguably still hasn’t recovered from. But he’s logged six 16-game seasons, and he only missed one start during his time in Oakland.
But if he doesn’t start those games, the Raiders will get nothing. Or almost nothing, with that swap of picks late in this year’s draft amounting to a mild puddle jump. The price to obtain Palmer was low, but seeing it drop to a level where a price almost doesn’t exist is still jarring.
Bringing even more awesome is the potential finality of the Raiders’ trade with Cincinnati if that scenario becomes reality. That trade to obtain Palmer would then look like this: first- and second-round picks for…nothing. Reggie McKenzie truly inherited a special kind of disregard for long-term franchise building.
On the other end of this, the Cardinals pay that mostly nothing charge, and get the best bridge option on the market. Palmer’s arm strength may be declining, and, well, he may just be declining overall due to the death grasp of father time. But Arizona can now use their seventh overall pick to draft the best offensive tackle available (most likely either Eric Fisher or Lane Johnson), and then avoid the Geno Smith feeding while waiting to draft their next quarterback of the future. They hold the 38th overall pick early in the second round, a slot when the likes of Ryan Nassib and Mike Glennon will likely still be on the board.
As this trade was finally made final, I was in the middle of another post (stay tuned for more great content later this afternoon…no really please come back, I need to eat) on the rampant quarterback shuffling, and the statement it’s making on how weak this quarterback draft class may be. And this is the strongest statement of all.
Even after they had just signed Drew Stanton (oh and hey, how awful is it to be that guy?), the Cardinals still pursued another quarterback, and specifically another sufficient vertical arm for Bruce Arians and his passion for field stretching. There was quite evidently little confidence in Geno Smith to fit that description. It’s becoming increasingly likely that Smith will get past both the Raiders and Jaguars, and be there for the taking when the Cards are on the clock at No. 7. Now logic — something the Cardinals are only vaguely familiar with — dictates that pick won’t happen, because the only way Palmer has even a modicum of success next year is if an offensive line that gave up 58 sacks in 2012 while breaking Kevin Kolb is improved dramatically.
It could be Bills or bust for Geno, while the rest of us can look forward to fake footballing fun, and Palmer making sure that Larry Fitzgerald exists again.