As you know, the Oakland Raiders went all in on 2011 this week when they traded away two unreasonably high draft picks to acquire Bengals QB Carson Palmer, who is STARTING this Sunday, which is downright nutty. And you know it's a questionable trade when people all over are declaring that Mike Brown outsmarted you. No matter. Raiders head coach and apparent new CEO of All Footbally Football Matters Hue Jackson is making some pretty bold declarations about the transaction:
"We were able to put together what I think is probably the greatest trade in football, in my opinion."
The trade leaves Oakland with just two picks in the 2012 draft. FUN FACT: They've spent three of those picks already on quarterbacks (Palmer, Jason Campbell, and Terrelle Pryor). The trade essentially makes Campbell expendable (you can't trade a first rounder away for Palmer and then bench him once Campbell is healthy), and calls into question the Raiders' commitment to developing Pryor, who was selected before Al Davis passed away. In other words, two of those QB trades may have already been rendered worthless, and that's without seeing how Palmer will fare after being away from the game for ten months.
In Palmer, the Raiders have acquired a player who has thrown 53 interceptions in his last full three seasons as a starter. Palmer hasn't been the same player since Kimo Von Oelhoffen famously tore his knee apart in a 2006 divisional playoff game. Since that time, Palmer has battled numerous injuries (at one point, his wrist was so compromised that he found himself handing off backhanded) and steadily become a less efficient passer. The reason that Cincy drafted Andy Dalton in the offseason wasn't just because of Palmer's dissatisfaction with Bengals management; it was because they didn't think Palmer was good anymore, a sentiment shared by a whole lot of people.
The raw numbers on Palmers last few season aren't all that damning, but he got a lot of TDs and a lot of yards throwing the ball like crazy in garbage time against superior teams. Palmer has turned the ball over 38 times in just the past two seasons alone. Somewhere along the line, he went from being one of the league's most promising young passers to being one of the league's most inconsistent passers. The alarming thing about Palmer is that, since 2005 he as presided over just one winning season of Bengals football, and that was with Cedric Benson carrying the load. He hasn't made his team better since 2005, and that's a problem.
Maybe reconnecting with Jackson will bring back the old Palmer, but that's a big risk to throw away two high picks on. The Raiders never would have made this trade if Campbell had gotten hurt, and that's ultimately what makes it a damning transaction. It's not the greatest trade ever. It's a desperate move by a team that is still lacking in proper leadership.