Carson Palmer was intrinsically linked to Hue Jackson, what with the former Raiders coach engineering the trade-deadline deal that brought the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback to Oakland from Cincinnati.But with Jackson now excised from the picture, where does that leave Palmer, who was acquired for a first-round draft pick this April and a conditional second-rounder in 2013?Palmer has not replied to messages.But new general manager Reggie McKenzie said in his Tuesday introductory media conference that Palmer will return -- he still has three years remaining on his reported 7.5-million guaranteed contract, with 5 million of the 12.5 million due him in 2012 guaranteed -- but added that the gig was not a given."Competition will be at every position," McKenzie said. "No one is going to have a job handed to them. You don't get better that way."We'll find good players to compete with the good players that we have, every day. So, Carson Palmer will not be immune to a good player behind him pushing him. That's how you get better."Jackson's departure, along with McKenzie's words, also potentially leaves open the door for Jason Campbell to return, seeing as how Jackson would not have wanted a potential distraction with a QB controversy. After all, Palmer was Jackson's guy after Campbell went down with a broken right collarbone on Oct. 16.And Campbell, who would no doubt have backing from the likes of receiversgroomsmen Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy, has said all along that he considers himself a starter. Still, Campbell is a looming free agent and Palmer is under contract.Then there's Green Bay backup Matt Flynn, who threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns with an interception on 31 of 44 passing in the Packers' 45-41 defeat of Detroit in Week 17. Flynn will also be a free agent and McKenzie, the former Packers director of football operations, has already gone on record as saying he wants "his" guys in the house when talking about firing Jackson.Of course, this is all before McKenzie hires a head coach, though he was asked his thoughts on the mega-trade for the semi-retired Palmer, who came off his couch to start nine games for the Raiders.McKenzie smiled."No. 1, as a personnel guy, I love my picks," he said. "More, I love good players. Now, bringing in Carson at the time the Raiders brought him in, to me, as a player, that's a good move. You have to get players that can help you win games. Now, did the position of the situation present itself favorably for Cincinnati? Absolutely. But you do what you have to do. That's just the way it is, the cost of doing business."You're trying to help your team win. You can't put parameters from a standpoint of knowing the possibility was not as good, on the other hand. But as far as Carson Palmer is concerned, I think he's a good quarterback. Period."In extrapolating his stats from his nine starts over a full 16-game season and they come out to 4,688 passing yards with 23 touchdowns and 23 interceptions on a 62.6 percent completion rate. His 417 passing yards in the season finale against San Diego were the third-most in franchise history.Still, owner Mark Davis admitted he might have had second thoughts about the dealbut would do it all again."Yeah, I probably would," Davis said. "Again, I signed off on that deal. It wouldn't have happened without Hue Jackson because, first off, (Carson) wasn't on my mind."The injury to Jason happened, my father's funeral was the next day, then the trading deadline was at 1 o'clock the next day. So the timing and everythingHue got it going and everything and then came to me and said, 'I can do it, we can get this done.'"The Bengals had initially said they would never trade Palmer."The price was high," Davis added. "And Ken Herock came in and helped a little bit in the negotiations on that, and got the price (down), at least if we don't get to the (AFC) championship game it's down to a second-round draft pick. And if Ken would've had about three more hours, they probably would've been giving us draft choices and say, 'Take the guy.'"Davis laughed."But I definitely signed off on that and I still sign off," he said. "I like Carson Palmer, I really do. And I think with Darren McFadden and some of those receivers that were hurt -- his receivers were hurt a lot -- I think he's got a chance to be pretty good."Even in Oakland. Even in 2012. At least, for now.
The Oakland Raiders have officially filed for relocation to Las Vegas. And Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf has responded.
“It’s no surprise that the Raiders have filed for relocation," Schaaf said in a statement. "Oakland welcomes the chance to show them and the NFL’s other owners why Oakland is the only home for the Raiders and always will be.
“Our winning team of the Lott Group, the County and my colleagues on the Oakland City Council has accomplished so much in the last few months. We’ve identified the mechanisms to responsibly finance public infrastructure improvements, we have in the Lott Group a private partner prepared to finance stadium construction, and we have an entitled site for a world-class NFL stadium and new development that enhances fan experience while invigorating East Oakland's economy.
“But this isn’t all Oakland has to offer. Oakland’s Raiders stadium will be on the most transit-accessible site in the nation, in the sixth largest television market, and in one of the wealthiest and most innovative regions in the world. But above all else, Oakland has something no other city ever will -- a die-hard fan base that is loyal and true to the Raiders and wants to see them stay here in Oakland where they were founded. Only Oakland brings the Raiders and the NFL a competitive stadium proposal, along with legacy and loyalty.
“I look forward to the League giving our team a chance to compete.”
Now that the fate of the Raiders' relocation is in the hands of the NFL owners, a vote could come at the NFL owners meetings in late March. It’s uncertain whether Davis has the votes needed to relocate, but there has been momentum building for such a move over the past several months.
Davis has said that, even if the Raiders are approved for relocation, he plans on playing in Oakland the next few years while a Las Vegas stadium is built. The team has already sent out season ticket pricing to fans for the 2017 season. The Raiders have one-year team options to play Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Las Vegas stadium isn’t expected to be ready until the 2020 season.
The Office of the Mayor Libby Schaaf and Scott Bair contributed to this report.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie acknowledged being named the NFL’s executive of the year was a big deal. It’s the highest individual honor bestowed on a personnel man.
Not in McKenzie’s eyes. His name’s on the plaque, but the general manger considers it a team honor. It takes a village to raise a roster, something McKenzie knows after working through the ranks.
“The acknowledgement, to me, is for the organization, from the top down,” McKenzie said. “From the patience and the vision together with me and (owner Mark Davis) on through the work, the daily work of the coaches and players and to play on Sunday. That’s what the acknowledgement is really all about.
“You see the entire organization working together to win. That’s what I see. It’s an accomplishment from the standpoint that we’re winning now. That’s what I feel good about. That’s why this award is special. It’s a team award, but it’s special to me that this thing is resulting into wins.”
The Raiders went 12-4 in 2016 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season. That postseason experience was not positive. The Raiders got waxed in Houston, completing a brutal two-loss stretch where an AFC West title was lost and the season formally ended.
The downward spiral started in Week 16, after quarterback Derek Carr broke his fibula. Backup Matt McGloin played poorly and then hurt his shoulder the next game, which forced the Raiders to start rookie Connor Cook against Houston.
A loss seemed likely – Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn was also sidelined – but that didn’t make it easier for McKenzie to handle.
“Well, I’m still getting over it, (likely) until I win my next game,” McKenzie said. “It’s tough anytime you lose your last game. It’s going to eat at you and that’s one thing about being a player, being associated in this, it’s the drive for the next game. What can I do to help us win that next game? And that’s the hope we have now, is the opportunity to play again, you know? Albeit, in ’17, but that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to set the course for this ’17 season. So, it’s going to eat at you until then.”
It’s that drive that pushed McKenzie during difficult times, when talent piled up but didn’t translate to wins. Seeing the fruits of that labor is incredibly gratifying for McKenzie and staff. This award is part of that – to the victor go the spoils – though the end goal remains out of reach and will until the Raiders win a Super Bowl.
“Nobody likes losing, so I get that. If you really believe in what you’re doing and you’re supported, the hope is to start to win games, and to get to the playoffs is a step,” McKenzie said. “We feel good about that, but we’re only scratching the surface. We still want to hold up the trophy. That’s what we’re going to continue to strive to do. That’s our next step. We need to win playoff games.”