The Oakland Raiders overpaid for Carson Palmer, plain and simple. A first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013 (which actually escalates to a first-round pick if the Raiders win a playoff game this season) is too much to give for a mediocre quarterback.
So then why did the Raiders pull the trigger?
Well, when your fanbase is starved for a playoff berth, and your team is 4-2, you have to take a chance. Luckily for Oakland fans, this team could very well end up in the NFL postseason this season.
However, it won't be because of Carson Palmer—it will be despite him.
Just like the Cincinnati Bengals did in 2009, the 2011 Raiders should be able to sneak into the playoffs. Also like the 2009 Bengals, this Raiders team has a terrific rushing attack spearheaded by superstar Darren McFadden, and a rock solid defense led by one of the NFL's best defensive lines.
Palmer is not coming into the most glamorous of situations.
The Raiders have maybe one reliable pass catcher—tight end Kevin Boss—while all the other options are classic Al Davis "speedsters" with no real grasp on the fundamentals of the wide receiver/tight end position. They are not good route-runners, and they drop too many passes.
In order to figure out how Palmer will fare with this offense, let's take a look at the numbers from that 2009 season in Cincinnati.
Playing with the league's No. 1 rushing attack that year, Palmer wasn't counted on to do much in the offense; which was a good thing too, because his only targets were Chad Ochocinco, Chris Henry (R.I.P.), and a pile of horse manure.
Should the Raiders have mortgaged the future for such an average player?
Carson finished the season ranking about 18th in almost every single statistical category for quarterbacks.
To put it simply, he was below average.
Considering the consensus on Jason Campbell is that he is an average quarterback at best, filling Campbell's role in the Oakland offense shouldn't be too hard for Palmer.
Expect similar numbers to that 2009 season (which, pro-rated to two-thirds of a season, will look something like 14 touchdowns, eight interceptions, and 2,000 yards passing), and also expect the Silver and Black to slide into the second wild card spot with a 10-6 record.
Carson Palmer may get the Raiders to the playoffs, but there is no way that he is a good enough player to get them past the first round.
So I ask you, Raiders fans: is it worth it to mortgage your future for an old, middling quarterback who has no chance of bringing your team past the AFC Wild Card Round?