After today, no one can claim Reggie McKenzie isn't savvy. Yesterday Carson Palmer had great leverage in his stance against taking a pay cut. Today, he had the tables turned on him with a decisive move to work out a deal to bring in Matt Flynn in a trade with the Seahawks.
It doesn't stop there. The Raiders also want Flynn to re-work his contract. Word is Flynn's camp, like Palmer's camp, is not too keen on the idea. This means the Raiders can now let Carson Palmer and Matt Flynn decide who wants it more... or at all.
The deal is said to be finalized as far as the compensation. It just needs the Raiders to sign off on it. There is no real rush to get it done today or even tomorrow from the Raiders standpoint. Reggie has made his move. It's up to Flynn and/or Palmer what happens now.
If it were as simple as the Raiders wanting to replace Palmer, it would have been done. But that's not the ultimate hope. The first hope has always been to get Palmer to take a pay cut to remain the Raiders starting quarterback. Recent reports have been that they asked for him to lower his cap figure by $3 million which would bring his base salary down to $10 million this season. These reports have been disputed but let's just go with that for now.
Flynn is scheduled to make $5.2 million in base salary. There is no word on what kind of figure he has been asked to come down to. The Raiders may not have even asked for a specific figure but instead left it in the hands of Flynn's agent to come up with something.
Coming to the Raiders would be an attractive option for Flynn who is stuck behind Russell Wilson up in Seattle. Wilson had a monster rookie season, taking the Seahawks to the playoffs. A trade to Oakland would be the fresh start he had hoped he would have when he went to Seattle last off-season after four seasons as the backup to Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Flynn's cheaper than Palmer but he is relatively unproven and would require draft picks to be sent to Seattle. Word is the deal worked out would be for a low round pick in the 2013 draft and a conditional pick in 2014. Also, this would mean cutting Palmer and the dead money plus Flynn's salary would be about the same as the team currently pays Palmer. If they make this deal, they would like to get some cap relief in the process.
Palmer, despite reports that suggest he wants to leave the team, has never said anything of the sort. The idea that he is willing to play as a backup rather than take a pay cut is just the kind of thing his agent, David Dunn, would say to rush the Raiders to either cut his client and allow him to find a new team, or keep him at his current salary. But the Raiders want that cap relief right now so they can sign more free agents. It is time to test their resolve.
Whether Palmer sees better options as a free agent remains to be seen. But he knows he will not receive a deal elsewhere near as good as the $10 million the Raiders are reportedly offering. Plus at 33 years old, starting over again and finding a team who wants him as a starter is not ideal. So, he has a real decision to make.
Whichever player (or his agent) comes back to the Raiders with a deal they accept will be the Raiders quarterback. It is hard to say what the team would do should neither budge on their contract demands. The Raiders are hoping it doesn't come to that.
Either way, this move puts the Raiders in a much better negotiating position.