May 22, 2012; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer (3) and defensive coordinator Jason Tarver during organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Raiders Already At Crossroads With Carson Palmer

Hue Jackson didn’t give up a large chunk of the Raiders’ future for Carson Palmer in the hopes of winning eventually. Jackson took the Al Davis approach and went all-in to win now. As well all know that didn’t happen. Jackson lost his job, Palmer kept meanwhile Reggie McKenzie has got a gig that requires him to be thinking beyond the here and now. For McKenzie, winning is the priority but doing so with Palmer might not be the case.

There is really no way of predicting just what the Raiders will look like in 2012. Of course it’s getting increasingly difficult to predict much of anything about the NFL these days.

Since the Raiders are playing in the wide open AFC West, getting into the playoffs isn’t such a longshot. 9 wins isn’t a complete impossibility for Oakland and that number could be good enough to take the division crown.

On the other hand there are some that are predicting a return to the land of 11-losses for the Raiders as McKenzie continues to build the franchise his way.

Either way the Raiders have got to be asking themselves some long term questions.

Even with Palmer at the helm of a team in the playoffs the urgency to win will only increase. He isn’t getting any younger and the window for a potential Super Bowl berth with Palmer under center narrows with each passing day.

Should the Raiders jump back into the top 10 in the 2013 NFL Draft there is plenty of speculation that selecting a QB could be in the cards.

No matter how you slice it Palmer is at the crossroads of his Raider career without even being in silver and black for a full season. His salary could be a real problem going forward. Should we see another mediocre season then odds are McKenzie might just cut his losses to save cash in the long run. Jackson’s greed in acquiring Palmer put the organization in a tough spot.

Financially, the Raiders are committed to Palmer as if he were a franchise signal caller. But McKenzie’s connection to Carson is very distant in that third-cousin kind of way. They’re family but not necessarily close-knit. McKenzie is on the record saying he’d never trade future picks which in many ways means he’d have never gone after Palmer.

Even thought this is all part of the process as the Raiders transition into their new era there is so much at steak in 2012. A good showing by Palmer only exasperates the desperate urgency to win even though there might not be a good enough roster in place to compete at the highest level. A return to the bottom of the division will signify the need to start over at quarterback. Bottom line is we’ve got way too many questions and not enough answers…at least not in May.

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Tags: Al Davis, Oakland Raiders, Raider Nation, Fans, Popular, Featured Carson Palmer Hue Jackson Reggie McKenzie

  • Raider26

    Who says the rooster isn’t good enough to compete at the highest level ? Man, you have a lose-lose situation worked out and its still May. The Eagles had a ” dream team ” last year and it didn’t help them win a Super Bowl. Carson will have a great year and that will inspire great play from the whole team. That’s a far better way to spin it and more likely. I really don’t see a team unable to reach the highest level. What I have been reading about is a group of super motivated players who love the new playbook and are excited ( the most over used NFL word ever) to put them into action. I prefer to have faith rather than a bunch of questions that can’t be answered. Pessimism isn’t more realistic than optimism, it’s just the other side of the same coin. Believe, have faith, hope for the best and dance like a leprechaun on your Niner neighbor’s lawn when we win it all. 

  • raiderkarma

    @Raider26 Believe me homie, I want nothing but the best for the silver and black. But let’s be honest, a new coach isn’t going to make this defense championships caliber overnight. A new GM isn’t going to have any player’s back that he didn’t draft. This team can make the playoffs, no doubt. But any talk of a Super Bowl is years off and Palmer only has a couple more good seasons left in him at best. I’m hoping for the best but also realize this is McKenzie’s team and he won’t rest until he has all his guys in place. Palmer isn’t one of his guys so this is really an audition year for most of the roster.

  • Raider26

     @raiderkarma  It is a make it or break it year for Palmer, no doubt. Pretty good won’t be enough. Still, if he does return to elite status, McKenzie will adopt him. Elite QB’s are almost impossible to get, and we have a guy who might just be elite again. No GM anywhere is going to overlook that. Still, Palmer is old enough to spend the rest of his career looking over his shoulder at whose coming up, but that’s a good thing. You are right about the defense, but the challenge of any coaching staff is to get them ready. They have good players, not too many new faces and lots of motivation. It could be much worse. Anyway, the questions keep the odds long and a bet to win the whole thing will bring in a fortune. It worked for me in the 1983 season, I went to Hawaii with the winnings. I can’t wait to go back this Feb. Aloha !

  • raiderkarma

     @Raider26 100% agree about Palmer. He showed there is still plenty left in the tank last season and had a few games that were on the elite level. McKenzie knows all about franchise QBs as he was part of the developing of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. I hope Palmer steps up this year. He’s got to have a major chip on his shoulder. And hey, if you let it ride back in ’83 then why can’t lightning strike again in 2012? Hope to see you in Hawaii!

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  • OGRaider

    For all the problems that Carson Palmer had in his bizarre, abbreviated season, he wasn’t the main reason behind the Raiders’ late-season collapse. That falls on the defense.  We need to see how he does with a full training camp and preseason behind him ebfore we start talking about “crossroads.”