The Oakland Raiders have finally gotten themselves under the salary cap, but only barely so, and they still have a lot of work to do. One of the most pressing issues with regards to the salary cap is the situation of the starting QB Carson Palmer, who is set to make $13 million in 2013.
There have been rumors for a while now that the Raiders are going to make Palmer take a pay cut or else be cut from the team. While this never came from the mouth of Reggie McKenzie, it has been so widely reported that it is assumed to be true. Meanwhile, until now we have heard nothing from the Palmer camp about his contract situation.
Thanks to Paul Gutierrez of CSN Bay Area, we finally have a comment from Palmer himself, but it is not promising. In an e-mail exchange, Palmer told Gutierrez that he has not heard from the Raiders with regards to his contract and that he is "not sure what is going to happen" but that he "would love to be back in Oakland and compete".
Doesn't sound like much, but there are certainly things that can be taken away from Palmer's few words. First, it is rather concerning that Palmer has not heard anything about his future in Oakland. What are the Raiders waiting for? With free agency just around the corner, why would the Raiders not have even begun conversations with Palmer's camp? Negotiating a new contract with Palmer could take a while, so it is surprising to me that the Raiders have not yet even opened up a dialogue.
In addition, you can make some assumptions based on the second part of what Palmer said. It appears to me that when a players says they would like or love to play in a given city the next year, what they are really saying is "I'd love to play here if they pay me enough, if not, I'd love to play somewhere else too". If Palmer was open to taking a pay cut and intent on staying in Oakland, he could have made a more powerful statement. He could have said they would sit down and discuss with the Raiders, he could have shown confidence that a deal would work out. He could have said a lot, but instead he went with the worn out phrase that we hear all of the time from athletes about to leave town.
It's all speculation for now, but the Palmer situation only gets more concerning the longer it drags on.