Carson Palmer’s burning a lot of bridges in what’s shaping up to be a very underwhelming career for a former first overall pick. In less than three years, Palmer’s found the third team of his lengthy unaccomplished NFL career.
After being unable to come to terms on a restructured deal with the Oakland Raiders, the Raiders moved on from Palmer and traded for former Seahawks backup Matt Flynn. No big deal right? I mean, the NFL is a business and all. Everybody’s gotta get paid. Contract holdouts and cap casualties are nothing new to this league and they seem to be getting more fashionable by the offseason.
One big problem though. Palmer refuses to take a $3M pay cut to a more cap friendly $10M in salary, then upon being traded to the Cardinals agrees to a contract that COULD pay him up to $20M, with only $10M guaranteed. I know the Raiders are rebuilding and all, but in case he hadn’t noticed the Cards aren’t doing much better themselves.
If you’re a Raiders fan, you have every right to be upset with Palmer. You can count your beloved Raiders among the two teams Palmer’s given up on in his nine year career. He couldn’t take a pay cut for the team he’s played his last two seasons for - that very same team that gave up a heap of high draft picks to get him. He could however take a larger one to join the Cardinals.
Palmer saw the Raiders rebuild as having more work to do, and copped out on helping. I know there’s no room for loyalty in the NFL anymore, but this is just a bit much. The Raiders didn’t sign him to the ridiculous contract he refused to restructure. A contract that he had no chance whatsoever of living up to. Just don’t tell Palmer that...
Then again Raiders fans can take solace in one thing. Palmer was never going to turn this franchise around and they now get to expedite the process of finding out who does. Count this among the differences between a good player and a great player. He’s not good enough for a playoff team to be built around. Maybe good enough to lift a good team there, but no more than that. No less.
I’ve been a Palmer apologist from his first day in Oakland forward. I felt they grossly overpaid for him, but he was a vast upgrade on Jason Campbell. He didn’t play great, but he was far from the reason they were losing football games. This contract dispute, I can’t take his side on however. Neither should you.
You can follow J.D. Burke: @JDBurkeOV