The Oakland Raiders are on the verge of acquiring former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in a deal before the trade deadline.
The Bengals will receive Oakland's first-round draft pick in 2012 as well as a conditional first-round pick in 2013. According to an ESPN source, should the Raiders win a playoff game this season, Cincinnati would acquire Oakland's first-round pick in 2013, but if the Raiders miss out on the playoffs, the Bengals would get a second-round pick in 2013.
The deal has yet to be finalized, but Palmer, who will basically replace injured Jason Campbell full-time, spent Tuesday morning getting a physical for the Raiders.
For the Bengals, this trade is a no-brainer. Cincinnati is an organization that is rebuilding and will need all the drafts picks they can get their hands on. They also will no longer be paying Palmer to sit on the couch, and can now focus on the players who are still on the team, instead of wasting time wondering if they can coax their former star out of retirement.
It also signals to their fan base that they care about the future of the organization instead of playing games with the idea of holding onto Palmer out of spite.
But this deal is far more about the Raiders. Oakland has suddenly become an extremely interesting organization. With the death fo Al Davis, there are questions about who is now calling the shots. The Palmer deal may be an indicator that head coach Hue Jackson has more authority now.
Jackson has a relationship with Palmer that dates back several years. Palmer struggled for USC when Jackson was the offensive coordinator in the late-90s, but Palmer was recruited by Jackson out of high school, and the two worked together with the Bengals when Jackson was the wide receivers coach.
In other words, this trade has a lot to do with Jackson, and that's a big deal for an organization that often seems puzzled by who is actually making the decisions.
Whether Palmer performs to the Raiders' expectations is a different story. The former Pro Bowler hasn't thrown a pass since his incompletion on the Ravens' two yard line that would have given the Bengals the victory on Jan. 2. Palmer will need have to shake off the rust, and also learn the Raiders' playbook immediately.
Last season, Palmer had an 82.4 passer rating, and has struggled in recent years with injuries. He had some excellent wide receivers in Cincinnati that included Pro-Bowl wide outs Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, as well as other solid options, and he won't have anyone of that caliber in Oakland.
However, Palmer has worked out in the offseason with former NFL quarterback Ken O'Brien in the event that the Bengals would wise up and trade him. He is very much a West Coast guy, and may thrive in a new and perhaps more comfortable environment.
There will certainly be an adjustment from Cincinatti, as the Raiders don't do things by the book. At age 31, it will be interesting to see if Palmer's body holds up after his injuries, and if he really has the personality to deal with a very young wide receiving corps.
Palmer took the Bengals to the playoffs twice in his entire career, and never won a playoff game. Though he is regarded as a true talent, and is very mild-mannered, it's somewhat unsafe to assume the Raiders are going to continue to win this season with a new quarterback with a limited track record for success. It's possible that Palmer may not be an upgrade over Campbell, as the two have had rather similar statistics in recent seasons.
As for the trade, the Raiders may have given up too much. Losing two first-round picks could be devastating for an organization that has already dealt other picks in recent years. Basically, the Palmer trade shows that Oakland has a great deal of faith in Palmer and the 2011 season.
With a 4-2 record in the competitive AFC, it's certainly no guarantee that Oakland will earn a trip to the playoffs, let alone go deep into the postseason once they get there. Indeed, the Raiders might be taking a huge risk by putting all of their eggs in one basket with Palmer.
It will be interesting to see if it pays off.