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The NFL trade deadline isn’t like that of baseball and basketball where we see names and players flying everywhere for team’s attempts to either dump salaries or gear up for the playoffs. Being that football is so much more of a team and system sport, it’s very hard for players, especially key position players, to join a new team and get integrated in the system quickly.
However, that didn’t stop the Oakland Raiders, who sit at 4-2 in a race for the AFC West, from trading for a quarterback to replace the injured Jason Campbell who’s out 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone. The QB they landed is Carson Palmer from the Bengals. Palmer, who was once the Bengals franchise quarterback, has been “retired” this season.
He wanted to be traded but the Bengals said no, forcing Palmer to opt for retirement rather than finish out his contract. This was an ugly PR battle between the Bengals owner Mike Brown and Palmer, who were taking jabs at each other in the media at the beginning of the season.
Brown said they wouldn’t trade Palmer and agreed to let him sit at home as the Bengals went and drafted TCU’s Andy Dalton. Dalton has been playing well as the Bengals also sit at 4-2 and it might have factored into Brown’s decision to let Palmer go. However, the main reason was probably that Oakland made an offer he couldn’t refuse.
In return for Palmer, the Bengals get a first round draft pick in 2012 and a conditional second round pick in 2013 that could become a first round pick if the Raiders make it to the AFC title game this season. To many, this seems like a very steep price to play for a QB who many deem to be past his prime and who has been sitting at home, thus far this season.
However, given the Raiders options — either using backup Kyle Boller or sign a free-agent QB — none of whom are very good, they decided to go with the ‘win now’ approach. The Raiders are excited to get Palmer and he represents a dramatic upgrade from Campbell. The question now becomes how quickly he can get up to speed.
“I just know if I was on the streets for a while I’d need about, myself personally to knock the rust off as a defensive lineman, I’d need personally about three weeks to get back into form,” Richard Seymour said. Palmer has been named the starter for their game this weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Coach Hue Jackson worked with Palmer in Cincinnati and said much of the terminology is similar which should help speed up Palmer’s ability to learn the playbook. Palmer and receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford have been staying after practice to get extra reps, in an attempt to have some sort of chemistry when they hit the field this Sunday.
“It’s just a matter of the timing, he has to get that down and get used to the offense and has to get used to new receivers,” Ford said. “Whenever we can do that we’ll be clicking on all cylinders.
The Raiders paid a high price to get Palmer, but if you ask anyone in the Raiders organization or their fans, I’m sure they will tell you that for a team who hasn’t made the playoffs since 2002, when they lost in the Super Bowl, they’d take a trip to the AFC Championship or Super Bowl over a few draft picks any day.
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithallison/