News that Carson Palmer is not willing to renegotiate his contract is slowly reverberating throughout the Raider Nation. The knee-jerk reaction to this development is to simply just cut Palmer and roll with Terrelle Pryor.
Many are of the opinion that the Raiders are likely to struggle either way. By playing Pryor outright, the team can assess if he can be the team's future signal-caller moving forward. In theory, that is a very sound and logical analysis.
But the reality is this: Carson Palmer is the only proven quarterback the Oakland Raiders have.
Beyond that, his cap figure does more harm than good if the team were to just cut him straight away. By cutting Palmer outright, they would still owe him over $9 million, and that "dead money" would count against the cap in 2013.
That is the direct opposite of bang for your buck. However, there is a flip side to that as well. By cutting Palmer and absorbing the hit in 2013, the Raiders would ensure no dead money remaining for future years. Additionally, Palmer's cap number would decrease from just over $15.3 to $9.34 million if the Raiders released him.
For a team in rebuilding mode, it really does not seem like much of a choice.
However, the Raiders lack assets. Teams in need of a quarterback are already circling like vultures to swoop up Palmer if Oakland does indeed release him.
As such, the Raider management has a dilemma: Do they wait and see if a team might be interested in a veteran like Palmer during or after the NFL draft, or does the team just cut its losses now and move forward? The cost that Hue Jackson paid to acquire Palmer was so steep, it would be damaging to let him walk for absolutely nothing but cap space.
Even a low-round draft choice is better compensation than zero. And considering Raider GM Reggie McKenzie's minimalist approach to rebuilding the franchise, every little bit helps.
My gut feeling is that ultimately, the Raiders will just let Palmer go, and he will likely sign with a team like Arizona as a stopgap for another franchise. If that does happen, it adds even more intrigue to the draft, because reading the tea leaves, it appears that the Raider coaches just don't have much faith in Pryor as the man going forward.
Could that mean Geno Smith might be back in play at the No. 3 overall spot in the draft? If Palmer is let go before April 25th, you certainly cannot rule it out.
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