Carson Palmer, the number one pick in the 2003 draft, decided before the NFL season began that he'd rather retire than play for the Cincinnati Bengals. Well, Palmer, a two-time pro-bowler, can come out of retirement at the age of 31. He's been traded to the Oakland Raiders.
The Raiders gave up a first-round draft pick in 2012 draft and a conditional first-round pick in the future in order to get Palmer. This indicates that the Raiders are looking to salvage their season after losing starting quarterback Jason Campbell last week. The Raiders, currently 4-2, are second in the AFC West, behind the Chargers who sit at the top of the division with a record of 4-1, coming off of a bye from last week.
The move also shows that the Raiders have a lot of faith in their current roster. After trading away their first-round pick for Palmer, the Raiders have been left with no 2013 draft picks until the fourth round.
The move makes sense, considering the Raiders are currently leading the league in rushing statistics across the board. Their running back Darren McFadden is averaging a whopping 101.7 yards per game, the most of any running back, in addition to leading in total rushing yards this season. If the Raiders are able to find a quarterback who can throw to their rookie wide receiver Jacoby Ford, who was the fastest person in the 2010 scouting combine, then the Raiders can be a real threat.
Coach Hue Jackson seemed particularly unfazed last week, when Campbell was unable to finish the game due to a broken collarbone.
I'm not going to let this football team blink, coach Hue Jackson said after the game. We'll miss Jason for a little while. I have no idea how long it will take. I don't know. We'll see as we go. I know, obviously, he won't be here next week or anything like that. We'll continue to press forward and get better.
Jackson formerly worked with Palmer at the University of Southern California (USC) where he worked between 1997-2000. Jackson was Palmer's offensive coordinator for the first three years at USC, where Palmer became the only second non-redshirt freshman to start as the quarterback for the Trojans. The coach and player were reunited when Hue Jackson became the wide receivers coach for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2004-2006. During that time, Palmer threw for the highest QB Rating of his career (101.1) in 2005. That same year, he threw for the most touchdowns of his career with 32 at the end of the season.
Though this will drastically increase the odds of the Raiders winning football games, don't expect the acquisition of Carson Palmer to drastically help you fantasy football team. Although the Raiders have plenty of breakout speed, the probability of any one of their offensive players breaking for a huge play seems unlikely. Only Darrius Heyward-Bey is listed in the top 50 receivers of the league, with just 345 yards this season. Compared to premier receivers such as Wes Welker (New England), Steve Smith (Carolina) or Mike Wallace (Pittsburgh), who are all well above 500 yards receiving this season, it seems unlikely that Darrius Heyward-Bey will suddenly break out, especially with the lack of another Oakland receiver in the top 50.
It's fair to say that Oakland is a run-first football team, and there's a small chance that the Palmer aquisition will affect that in any manner. Expect Palmer to help the Oakland Raiders earn more wins--and potentially a playoff birth--but as for your fantasy football team's starting quarterback, I'd look elsewhere.