Carson Palmer: Oakland Raiders' Best Options If QB Is Released
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Monday that Palmer is "highly unlikely" to restructure his current deal:
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
Is Pryor ready to start for the Raiders?
Pryor may well be the team's long-term answer at the quarterback position. Lord knows, he has better natural athleticism and arm strength than any of the quarterbacks coming out of this year's draft. Still, it remains to be seen if he can lead a winning NFL offense.
The Raiders need to at least add a veteran to the roster as Pryor's backup, if the team's plan is to let him enter the season as the starter. At best, Oakland would draft a quarterback in the middle rounds and bring in a veteran to compete with both young quarterbacks during training camp.
Selecting Geno Smith at the top of the draft makes zero sense for the Raiders. He isn't an upgrade over Pryor at this time, and the team would be wise to land an impact player, likely a defensive tackle or cornerback.
So what are the best options for the Raiders, should Palmer be released?
Sign Vince Young To Short-Term Deal
Vince Young hasn't looked good on a football field since 2010, but he's determined to make a comeback. He's scheduled to work out at Texas' pro day on Tuesday, according to SI.com's Stewart Mandel:
Vince Young, back on campus this semester finishing his degree, will work out at Texas' pro day, according to Mack Brown.— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) March 5, 2013
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport recently reported that the Raiders were involved in "preliminary" talks with Young, via Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith.
With the money the Raiders would save releasing Palmer, the team could easily afford to give Young a short-term deal worth $2-3 million per season.
When Young has his head on straight and is focusing on football, he is a darn good quarterback. He let his personal life get in the way of his football career during his time with the Tennessee Titans, and he recently sent a letter of apology to Jeff Fisher for his mistakes (h/t NFL.com's Kareem Copeland).
If he's truly ready to take the NFL seriously, Young still has a lot to offer from a physical standpoint. He's only 29 years old, and he's only started 50 career games, during which time he compiled a record of 31-19.
The Raiders could certainly do a lot worse.
Bring Back Jason Campbell
This wouldn't likely be the most popular move Oakland could make, but it could be a brilliant, short-term strategy.
Which veteran QB would you rather see wearing Silver and Black in 2013?
As ESPN.com's Bill Williamson points out, it would be ironic if Campbell were to return as Palmer leaves, since Palmer's arrival in Oakland was facilitated by Campbell's broken collarbone in 2011.
But the truth of the matter is there aren't many other options available to the Raiders in free agency.
Campbell is capable of winning games in the NFL. During his one-and-a-half-year stint with Oakland, he earned a record of 11-7 as the team's starter.
He's a veteran who has seen it all and who would be a stop-gap player for Oakland until Pryor is ready to step into the starting role. And he wouldn't cost the Raiders an arm and a leg to do it.
Draft a Quarterback
The beauty of the first two options we've presented is that Young and Campbell can be bought for relatively cheap contracts, leaving the door wide open for the Raiders to still draft another quarterback in Round 3 or 4.
The best move for McKenzie would be to bring in a vet and target either Tyler Wilson, Matt Scott, Tyler Bray or E.J. Manuel in the middle of the draft.
Do the Raiders need to draft a QB in 2013?
This year's draft class is devoid of a sure-fire starter like Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III. That said, the middle of the draft is loaded with players that could end up becoming excellent pros. There is a lot of potential, but not much polish.
With so many other needs on Oakland's roster, Reggie McKenzie might be inclined to simply bring in a vet to compete with Pryor and focus on building up the rest of his roster. But should he decide to pursue a quarterback in the middle of the draft, he'll have some intriguing options.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
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