That purported staredown between the Raiders and Carson Palmer? Apparently, someone just blinked.
Numerous reports have the Raiders deep in discussions to acquire career backup quarterback Matt Flynn from Seattle in a trade that would precipitate the Raiders cutting Palmer.
The latest theory is Oakland may be making one last-ditch effort at getting Palmer, 33, to agree to a pay cut to remain with the Raiders. He gives the team the best chance to win in the immediate future, despite being owed $13 million in base salary in 2013 and $15 million in 2014, with salary cap numbers of $15.335 million and $17.335 million, respectively. Those huge numbers stem from Palmer restructuring his contract last season to play for the veteran minimum of $825,000, a move that gave the 2012 Raiders badly needed salary cap relief.
Of course, the Raiders have no comment, general manager Reggie McKenzie has not replied to a text message and Palmer himself declined, through the Raiders, to comment on the situation.
Earlier this month, though, Palmer told CSNCalifornia.com in an email he hoped to return to the Raiders, which acquired him in 2011 for a first-round draft pick in 2012 and what turned out to be a second-rounder in 2013.
"Not sure what's going to happen," Palmer wrote, "would love to be back in Oakland and compete."
It was reported this week that the Raiders asked Palmer to take a $3 million paycut but the quarterback balked at the proposal.
Now, speculation has Flynn, who was a seventh-round draft choice of Green Bay out of LSU in 2008, reuniting with McKenzie.
It would be an interesting move as financially, releasing Palmer and acquiring Flynn would basically be a wash for the Raiders. Sure, cutting Palmer would save the Raiders $5.995 million against the cap for 2013, but he'd still count for $9.334 million in dead money. And Flynn, who signed a three-year, $26-million deal with $10 million guaranteed with Seattle last offseason, still has a reported $5.3 million remaining on his contract.
Plus, the Raiders would likely have to give up a draft pick to the Seahawks in the process, which would seemingly go against everything McKenzie has stood for in his short time on the job. The Raiders currently have seven picks, none in the second or fifth rounds but two each in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Then again, McKenzie did not give up such a bounty for Palmer; that was the doing of Hue Jackson, with the blessing of owner Mark Davis, in the wake of Al Davis' death.
Flynn, who turns 28 on June 20, opened eyes with essentially one start, throwing for 480 yards and six touchdowns on 31-of-44 passing in a 45-41 defeat of Detroit in the Packers' 2011 season finale. Still, there have been questions about Flynn's arm strength.
Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, meanwhile, took to Twitter to bid Flynn adieu.
"Wishing Flynn the best on his endeavors in Oakland," Baldwin wrote. "Sad to see a friend leave, but excited for his opportunity. Great QB, even better man."
Within an hour, though, Baldwin Tweeted the following: "Am I premature?! Happens." And then, "Premature trade-ulation," and "I mean, I get my news like everyone else. Swindled."
Palmer, meanwhile, is purportedly earmarked for Arizona if he is released by the Raiders.