The Oakland Raiders finally completed their trade for Matt Flynn on Monday morning. That turned the attention to Carson Palmer and when/where he would be moved. The Raiders restructured Flynn's contract in a way that increased his cap hit for 2013. In fact, with his restructured contract, the Raiders are spending half a million more against the cap than if they were to have simple kept Palmer. As a result, there is simply no way that Palmer will be on the team next season.
So why, then, is he still on the team now?
The Raiders have been in talks with the Arizona Cardinals since last Friday to trade the aging quarterback, but it appears that those talks may have hit a snag Monday night after the deal seemed imminent earlier in the day. In all likelihood, the snag is related to contract negotiations between Palmer and Arizona rather than being over the amount of compensation for Palmer.
The Raiders cannot expect to get very much for Palmer, so it is unlikely that general manager Reggie McKenzie would risk getting nothing for Palmer by being stubborn about how much he gets. Besides, if reports are true, the picks being discussed would be for a fifth round pick or later. The difference in value between a fifth, sixth and seventh round pick is not so much to be worth dragging this deal out.
There is a chance that Palmer is balking at a restructuring in an effort to force a release that would allow him to choose the team he plays for while also attempting to maximize the value of his contract by playing different suitors off of each other.
This, however, would be a risky move by Palmer because while the Raiders surely intend on jettisoning their former starting quarterback, they are also in no rush to do it. The guaranteed money for this year is already guaranteed, so the Raiders do not have to release Palmer before the beginning of the season. The only risk the Raiders take is Palmer getting injured during camp, making the Raiders responsible for his entire contract.
As the game of chicken continues, Palmer will likely have to be the first to blink simply because if he doesn't and the Raiders are intent on holding him for a while, he may not have many options when he is finally released. Other teams cannot afford to wait around too long to sign a QB if there is a need at the position.
Given how tumultuous the Palmer situation has been this off season, I would not be surprised if this dragged on for a while. At the same time, I also wouldn't be surprised if the deal is finalized before lunch today. That's just how the NFL off season works.