NFL Free Agency: Why Oakland Raiders Will Regret Not Re-Signing Jason Campbell

Stephen Fenech@Fenech2491Correspondent IApril 2, 2012

HOUSTON - OCTOBER 09: Quarterback Jason Campbell #8 of the Oakland Raiders during action against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 9, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

The arrival of Carson Palmer in Oakland signaled the end of Jason Campbell's time in the Bay Area. The Raiders will regret allowing Campbell to leave via free agency at some point this season. 

Campbell would have helped the Raiders win more football games this season than Palmer ultimately will lead them to this year.

If Campbell had never gotten injured, then Oakland probably would have represented the AFC West in the playoffs last season

Campbell led the Raiders to a 3-2 record, having just beaten the Houston Texans, in Houston. This victory would be the only time the Raiders would be a team that finished the season with a winning record.

Statistically Campbell wasn't excellent last year; in six starts he compiled 1,170 yards to go along with six touchdowns against just four interceptions. 

Although his numbers weren't great, Campbell was judicious with the ball. He kept his team in the game by not turning it over; this was something that Palmer had a very difficult time doing once he took over in Oakland. 

In his 10 starts, Palmer threw 16 interceptions and led the Raiders to a 4-6 record and caused the team to miss the playoffs. No one watching Palmer last year would describe his decision making as judicious. A more suitable word for Palmer's decision making would be reckless or careless.

Palmer was brought in to help the Raiders win the weak AFC West, but they squandered their chance losing four of their last five games. During that five-game stretch, with the exception of their loss to Detroit, Palmer did not play well. He threw one more interception than touchdown pass and the only team they beat during that stretch was the Chiefs in overtime.

OAKLAND, CA - JANUARY 01:  Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders in action against the San Diego Chargers at O.co Coliseum on January 1, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Raiders employ one of the NFL's better backs, that back being Darren McFadden, and should look to use him as much as possible.

Palmer's skill set demands for an offense based more on the passing game than the ground game, which isn't compatible with the players that they currently have on the roster. McFadden may not get as many touches as he deserves because Palmer will be looking down the field too much.

The Raiders need a quarterback that will take care of the ball and make plays down the field when there are opportunities present. Carson Palmer, although a better pure passer than Jason Campbell, takes too many risks and the more opportunistic defenses will advantage of this,

For an example, we can look at the Raiders game against the Packers last year, in that game Palmer threw four picks. The Packers used these interceptions to build a huge lead early and the Raiders were never truly in the game. 

This offense had the potential to be very successful with Jason Campbell at the helm. They employ the personnel to run the ball effectively; they finished the season ranked seventh in rushing last season, which would have opened up the passing game for Campbell later in games. 

This style would keep the Raiders in the majority of their games and would give them a chance to win every week. Teams that give themselves chances to win games usually wind up qualifying for the playoffs, which is something the Raiders haven't done since 2002.

Palmer did not come cheaply, Oakland had to send their first-round selection this year along with a conditional second-rounder in next year's draft.

If the Raiders had not brought in Carson Palmer they would still be in ownership of the 17th pick in this year's draft. That pick could have brought in a good young player to fill one of the team's many needs.

In his current mock draft, Todd McShay of ESPN has the Bengals taking David DeCastro, a guard out of Stanford. 

DeCastro is one of the best guard prospects to come out of college in a decade and would instantly be an upgrade on the offensive line. There will also be some good defensive players still available around that pick, for example it is very possible that Dre Kirkpatrick, cornerback out of Alabama, will still be available at that point.

Instead Palmer's old team, the Bengals, will make that selection and the Raiders have nothing but a failed season to hang their hat on. 

The teams that are successful in the NFL all have a couple of things in common: they build extremely well through the draft and they help players maximize their potential. In order to compete with the top organizations in the league you need to hold onto your draft picks, not trade them away for a quarterback who had given up on his previous team.

Palmer will have the chance to redeem himself this season, and if he is able to lead the Raiders to the playoffs then the memory of this past season will begin to fade. But if Palmer doesn't play like he did when at his best in Cincinnati then he will have set the Raiders organization back three years. 


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