Last week, the man who quit on the Bengals was poised to force the Raiders to fire him. So why is quarterback Carson Palmer suddenly willing to reduce his contract to facilitate a trade to the Cardinals?
With the Raiders adding Matt Flynn and his increased $6.5 million cap number for 2013, the Raiders have even less reason to carry Palmer’s $13 million salary. And with offseason workouts opening in two weeks, the Raiders won’t want to risk owing Palmer the full amount of his base pay if he pops an Achilles tendon or suffers some other long-term injury.
If Palmer wants to play for the Cardinals, he needs to simply hold firm, get cut, and then sign with Arizona as a free agent. That way, the Cardinals wouldn’t have to give up a late-round draft pick who potentially could become an impact player. It also would give Palmer a chance to maximize his market by luring other teams to the table.
It could be that Palmer wants to finagle his exit with minimal awkwardness or confrontation. To get the Raiders to cut him, for example, he’d have to show up for offseason workouts — and risk that the Raiders would call his bluff and hold his rights through June. In theory, the game of chess/chicken could continue into training camp and the preseason, with Palmer still on the roster but the Raiders keeping him on ice, like the Packers had planned to do with the suddenly unretired Brett Favre in 2008, before they traded him to the Jets.
Palmer apparently wants what he wants without having to get his hands dirty. Which means that he’s willing to take a trade in lieu of forcing a stare down with the Raiders — assuming Palmer can work out a reduced contract with a Cardinals team that has to be wondering why Palmer simply won’t hold firm until the Raiders cut him.