Palmer deal shows Jackson's in charge

October 18, 2011, 3:23 pm
Share This Post

So its apparently official -- Hue Jackson is the new face of the Oakland Raiders, and that could mean anything from him being Alexander (Im In Charge Here) Haig to Philip (The Strawberries, Thats Where I Had Them) Queeg.

Well explain those references in a minute. But first, the news: The Raiders under the auspices of Jackson, have traded the 2012 first round pick they expect to get from the Nnamdi Asomugha deal and a conditional No. 1 in 2013 to the Cincinnati Bengals for quarterback Carson Palmer.

This means:

Jackson needed a quarterback for the right now.
Jackson went to the one place nobody thought anyone could go, Cincinnati when Mike Brown is having a hissy-fit.
Jackson went after a quarterback who was once promising but through injury and pique has become a dodgy selection.
Jackson had the power to pay what most people agree is a staggeringly high price.

It may also mean that Al Davis is doing triple Salchows in his grave, though we need more expert testimony from master of mortuary science and the rites of the dead to know for sure.

But what it absolutely means is this: Hue Jackson is now the general manager of the Oakland Raiders, the living modern-day embodiment of the man who hired him. He went from offensive coordinator to head coach to the master of the football operations department in nine months, a rise so meteoric that even Al in the afterlife must find that a bit breathtaking.

Consider this: Palmer is a considerable risk, given that the rust on him makes the rust of Kyle Boller look like a spit-shine. Consider also that a No. 1 pick in a year rich with quarterback talent is a high price, and a second one, albeit conditional, is extraordinary.

But we dont know if thats good or bad, because we dont know what conditions must prevail for the second year to kick in, and whether the Bengals would know what to do with the extra picks.

We also dont know what Al would do if he were still about, because every trade is different, and every position has different value. So lets not play that card, either.

What we know is this. Hue Jackson has grabbed the commanders chair, and maybe with the approval of the Davis family and CEO Amy Trask. It is at least without their strident objection, although if this trade goes south, they may use it later to fire him. Such is the nature of life in business and sport.

In other words, when Jackson says he lives on the edge, he isnt screwing around. He just went all-in on his job, his future job, the Raiders drafts for the next two years, and the future of the franchise all of 10 days after the passing of the only other true boss the organization has ever known.

Even Joseph Stalin cooled his heels for two years before throwing his elbows around.

But there we go, lapsing back into history. And for you kids who think Google is the equivalent of running a marathon, Alexander Haig was the guy who tried to seize control of the government after Ronald Reagan got shot in 1981. And Philip Queeg was the loonball captain in the famous movie The Caine Mutiny.

There are small elements of all these things in Hue Jackson right now. And if hes right, hes a damned genius. And if hes wrong, hes done.

Living on the edge? Please. This is sitting with one leg ion each side of the edge and bouncing up and down without a cup. This is sliding your tongue up and down the edge on a winters morning when the edge is frozen. This throwing in all your chips on a seven-deuce.

You have to like the commitment. You have to love the brazenness. You have to anticipate with eagerness the gargantuan fallout. Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz? On Monday, a big deal. On Tuesday, Little League parent crap. Take that, 247 news cycle.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for

More Team Talk