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.