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 received conditional approval from the National Football League to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas, Nevada.
Shortly thereafter, owner Mark Davis issued the following statement:
“My father always said, ‘the greatness of the Raiders is in its future,’ and the opportunity to build a world-class stadium in the entertainment capital of the world is a significant step toward achieving that greatness. I would like to thank Commissioner Goodell, the National Football League and my 31 partners. I would also like to thank Governor Brian Sandoval and the Nevada Legislature for their commitment. Finally, I would like to thank Sheldon Adelson for his vision and leadership, without which this project never would have become a reality.
“The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA. We know that some fans will be disappointed and even angry, but we hope that they do not direct that frustration to the players, coaches and staff. We plan to play at the Coliseum in 2017 and 2018, and hope to stay there as the Oakland Raiders until the new stadium opens. We would love nothing more than to bring a championship back to the Bay Area.”
The only owner who voted against the move was Miami's Stephen Ross, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Oakland Raiders media services contributed to this story
The original Oakland Raiders, the ones who colonized the city for professional sports in 1960, lasted 7,964 days, and died at the hands of a jury in a Los Angeles courtroom.
The re-relocated Oakland Raiders, who fled L.A. and rebooted here in 1995, lasted 7,948 days, and died at the hands of the 32 National Football League owners in a Phoenix boardroom.
There, the similarities end, but not the feelings.
The 32 franchise owners voted Monday at the league meetings in the Arizona Biltmore to give Mark Davis the same thing his father Al fought for 35 years ago – the right to leave. The first time, Al left without the owners’ support; this time, Mark did it eagerly courting the owners’ support, and in a few cases, overt aid.
But whether this move will take any better than the others remains a point only time can reveal. After all, when you chase money, sometimes the money decides not to get caught.
And that ultimately is what dictated this vote, and this move. Mark Davis decided at least three years ago, and perhaps longer, that the team left to him by his parents and future did not lie in Oakland, and worked aggressively if not always efficiently to find a new business home.
Like his father, though, leaving was time-consuming, expensive and came with a great deal of friction. He talked to San Antonio only to find out that Jerry Jones and Bob McNair would never allow him to move his team into their state. He tried to move to Los Angeles in tandem with San Diego’s Dean Spanos and marched cheerily to the altar only to find out at the last minute that it would end as a red wedding.
And even this time, he repeatedly false-started his way through a year of deals and abortive deals before finally convincing his wealthier and haughtier brethren that the new money of Las Vegas was a better bet than the tradition and size of Oakland.
As regards that supposition, only time and short-term greed vs. long-term growth will tell. The league hasn’t exactly covered itself in glory with the multiple ways it screwed up the Los Angeles and San Diego markets, after all, and Davis as the league’s cash-poorest owner is always vulnerable to market forces and bullying partners.
But the possibility that this move might turn out to be an ill-fated choice does nothing to assuage a second generation of jilted Raider fans. Those fans were badly served through most of Oakland Raiders 2.0, deserved better, and ended up with a bittersweet experience, heavy on the bitter. In total:
- There was the gall of watching the third-worst record in football in those 22 years (Detroit and Cleveland), the league high total of 12 non-interim head coaches and the added irritation of watching the team opt to leave just as it was freshly positioned for an extended run of success.
- There was the financial and architectural sinkhole of Mount Davis, which added seats and as-yet-unpaid debt while removing ambience from an old stadium living off the memories of the best Raider teams.
- There was the organizational paralysis of the later Al years and the aggressive wanderlust of the Mark years, leaving the fans to wonder what stable ownership might have offered.
In short, the new generation of Raider fans got remarkably little bang for their bucks, or for their hearts, and still got the same cruel reward their parents did.
Still, the Raiders were theirs, for good or ill, even if the last few years they only kept their team through the fecklessness of their owner. Now that the team is leaving again, these fans have only the commiserations their parents and older relatives who went through it once before, and learned in the most painful way of all that cities and fans don’t own teams – billionaires do, and billionaires are only citizens of the empire of money. Fans and cities and traditions and allegiances are merely wallets toward an end.
But one never knows what the future will bring. They might come back in 2030 and give it another 8,000-day try for the children of the brokenhearted. It would be a particularly perverse thing for the Raiders to do, but there is nothing in their history that suggests they mind treating their fan bases perversely.