On Sunday afternoon, the Oakland Raiders suffered a crucial injury to Jason Campbell, their starting quarterback. Rather than letting backup quarterback Kyle Boller or 2011 supplemental draft pick Terrelle Pryor take the reigns, the Raiders have chosen to go outside of the organization and trade with the Cincinnati Bengals for Carson Palmer.
If and when the trade goes through (pending Palmer’s ability to pass a physical), the Raiders will surrender a first-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and a conditional first-round pick in the 2013 draft. The pick for the 2013 draft would only become a first-round pick if Oakland goes to the playoffs and wins their first game.
Entering the 2011 season, not many people outside of the Raiders organization expected much of this year’s team.
They had a good running back to build around in Darren McFadden and some quality speed receivers in Darius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford. When they signed Jason Campbell over the offseason, not much changed, as Campbell’s career thus far has been filled with many ups and downs.
Then, on national television, the Raiders traveled to Denver to take on their division rivals, beating the Broncos by a score of 23-20, as they kept the Broncos from having any late-game heroics. Their great start to the season followed with a Week 3 victory against the New York Jets, where their running game dominated against Rex Ryan’s defense.
While their offense has been very successful running the ball this season since they are second overall in the league, and their passing game has been average, their defense is what could kill them in 2012.
After the 2010 season, the Raiders could not re-sign their top defensive player in Nnamdi Asomugha, leaving Chris Johnson and Stanford Routt at the starting cornerback position. Although they lost a valuable cornerback, they still have a quality defensive line left with Richard Seymour leading the way.
With the first-round pick the Raiders will lose after they acquire Carson Palmer, they could have used it to draft a better cornerback or linebacker who might help them defend against the pass. While the Raiders are average defending against the run, as they are 16th overall, and their running game is second overall, their pass defense is 28th overall, as they allow an average of 283.5 yards per game.
On top of the fact that the Raiders are losing this years first-round pick, they already lost their third-round picks when they got Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. This acquisition leaves them with no good draft picks, which means if they do not acquire a superstar during the offseason, their team will be exactly the same.
It makes sense that the Raiders are going outside of the team to salvage the good season they have going for them, but adding Carson Palmer does not make them a Super Bowl contender. When you also take in that they have no first, second or third-round pick, their team will not have improved much between 2011 and 2012.
With that, expect the outcome of this season to repeat in 2012, as the Raiders will likely make the playoffs but not make it very far; they will probably lose in the wild card or divisional round. Also, do not expect much out of Palmer, if he even plays this week, as the Raiders will host the Kansas City Chiefs at the "Black Hole" before they enter their bye week.
The nine-week stretch of games will be crucial in judging how beneficial Palmer can be for this team, as they are taking a huge risk on him. Some of the teams Oakland will face are San Diego, Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit.