Interesting: now "highly unlikely" Carson Palmer will be willing to restructure his contract meaning OAK pays him $13 million or cuts him.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 25, 2013
The Raiders have seen this coming for a while. Carson Palmer was to get a raise in pay as per the restructure they agreed upon last off-season. He is set to make $13 million in base salary with a $15 million cap hit.
I put out an article last month asking the question of whether the Raiders really need Carson Palmer to take a pay cut. Now, with this supposed new development, it appears the Raiders have made their attempts to work out some kind of deal with Palmer to lower his 2013 cap figure and have been unsuccessful.
This does not surprise me for a number of reasons.
1. Due to the restructure last year, there is no way to simply move money around without causing considerable damage against future cap figures and we all know Reggie McKenzie is unwilling to do that.
2. This means a straight pay cut is the only way. After Palmer worked with the team last year to lower the cap figure, he has every right to stand pat and expect the team to honor the deal they struck with him. Players rarely ever take straight pay cuts, especially those who have nothing to lose if they don't.
3. Palmer would leave a lot of dead money behind if he were cut. The team would essentially still be paying top QB money to him except they would not have him around to earn it.
4. They haven't even completed the trade to acquire him. They have no round two pick this season after already having sent their first round pick to Cincinnati last year.
5. The team has no real options at QB without Palmer. There is no way the Raiders are handing the keys over to Terrelle Pryor. Without Palmer, they would be forced to draft Geno Smith with their top pick or risk not having any viable quarterback option on the team next season.
6. This would also mean no top pick on another position of great need for which there are many. The pick would get harder to trade with a team like the Cardinals likely nabbing Carson Palmer as soon as he is cut and therefore not having a need to jump up and get Geno Smith.
7. Trading Palmer would be very difficult with his salary being what it is. Other teams (such as the aforementioned Cardinals) won't be fighting to acquire him, they are content to sit waiting for what they hope is the inevitable release and then they'll pounce.
I have heard a lot of sportswriters and analysts say with utmost certainty that the Raiders are not going to pay Palmer $13 million this season. I still see that being a possibility. If the Raiders feel like they need to dig up cap space somewhere, there are other places they can find it without cutting their own nose off to spite their face.