Raiders acquire Flynn, cut ties with Heyward-Bey
Matt Flynn is a career backup, but is likely to compete for the starting job in Oakland if Carson Palmer is traded. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
So what, exactly, does Oakland acquiring a career backup quarterback in Matt Flynn and preparing to jettison veteran Carson Palmer, presumably to Arizona, mean?
A lot of things. For one, that the Raiders' new regime has shown again it is not afraid to start from scratch.
[RELATED: Raiders get Flynn, trying to move Palmer]
And that Oakland does not trust Terrelle Pryor as a viable starting quarterback in the NFL…yet.
The trade -- the Raiders gave up a fifth-round draft choice in the 2014 draft and an undisclosed conditional pick in 2015 -- makes little sense from a performance and history standpoint.
Palmer is a proven commodity, a former No. 1 overall draft choice with a decade's worth of experience in the NFL that performed well last season in becoming just the second quarterback in Raiders franchise history to pass for more than 4,000 yards, albeit for an outfit that went 4-12.
Flynn, meanwhile, has started a total of two NFL games in his career.
“I’ve known Matt Flynn since 2007 and scouted him before and after he entered the NFL,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie said in a statement. “Matt is a tough football player, and a talented quarterback. He will get the opportunity to compete to be a starter with the Raiders. I believe Matt has that potential, but I also know he hasn’t had enough experience. We’re going to let him compete and battle, and see what happens. We know Raider Nation wants a team that can compete for the playoffs year-in and year-out and we’re putting in the necessary work right now to make that happen. This is one of the many decisions in that process.”
Still, the trade makes even less sense from a financial standpoint...unless McKenzie is able to trade Palmer and have that club take on his financial responsibilities, while restructuring Flynn's contract.
[PRESS RELEASE: Raiders announce acquisition of Flynn]
Consider: merely cutting Palmer would save the Raiders $5.995 against the cap for 2013, but Flynn was due to make $5.25 million in base salary. And Flynn has a cap number of $7.25 million.
Where the Raiders would find savings, though, is in real money -- Palmer is due a combined $28 million in base salary the next two years while Flynn is due a combined $11.5 million.
And while Palmer has salary cap numbers of $15.335 million and $17.335 million the next two years, Flynn's cap numbers are $7.25 million and $8.25 million, respectively.
Pryor? His base salaries are $595,000 and $705,000, with cap numbers of $741,517 and $851,517.
But if McKenzie is able to trade Palmer -- even for a low-round draft pick, as expected, it seems like a low-risk deal for the Raiders.
How? Having Flynn's contract, rather than the one belonging to Palmer, affords Oakland that salary cap relief for the future. Even if neither Flynn nor Pryor is truly the answer under center for the Raiders this year.
Might the Raiders simply be stalling for a purportedly more quarterback-rich draft class in 2014?
Consider this: the five most expensive contracts on the Raiders' books heading into this offseason are now gone -- Richard Seymour, Carson Palmer, Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Tommy Kelly.