Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Apr 2013

Palmer, Flynn Deals Finalized

Carson Palmer has been traded to Arizona for... wow, this is not a lot of compensation... a swap of 2013 late-round picks and a conditional seventh-rounder in 2014. Yes, this is the same guy who was traded for a first-round pick a couple years ago. Palmer isn't the same quarterback he was back before the injuries, but he was roughly league average a year ago, which makes him a million times better than the quarterbacks who played for Arizona. He'll be replaced in Oakland by Matt Flynn, acquired from Seattle yesterday.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 02 Apr 2013

51 comments, Last at 12 Apr 2013, 3:09pm by Mr Shush


by nuk :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 2:36pm

Do we know yet how many first round picks the Raiders gave up for Flynn?

by MatMan :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 2:40pm

I suppose that depends on his 40 time.

by Sifter :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 4:12pm

Strange it's not in the article...I read that Flynn was traded for a 2014 5th round pick and a 2015 conditional late round pick. That doesn't seem like much either. And I imagine both teams are still looking at young QBs in the draft, it's just they'll be slightly less desperate to grab one now.

by rageon :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 4:23pm

I'm still of the belief that while the Raiders overpaid for Palmer by giving up the 1st round pick, it's not quite as bad as made out to be. At the time, they looked like they were going to easily make the playoffs when Campbell got hurt and trading for Palmer was in all likelihood going to ensure they still made the playoffs. But basically every able-bodied receiver on the Raiders subsequently got injured (and McFadden too I believe), and Palmer just wasn't good enough to win games without some kind of weapons. There was also very good evidence for devine intervention ensuring the Broncos made the playoffs that year.

Obviously the trade didn't work out, but with a few less bad-breaks, you could at least see the Raiders making the playoffs that year with Palmer.

by Steve in WI :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 4:35pm

I see your point, but I'd argue that it wasn't worth giving up a 1st round pick for him just to try to make the playoffs one year even if it had worked. I don't think anyone thought the Raiders had a legit chance to go far in the playoffs, or that Palmer was going to be a very good QB for years to come.

by DEW (not verified) :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 5:32pm

Probably not, but the value of a playoff appearance to the fans (and to ownership, and, heck, to the front-office and coaching staff) is pretty high, especially since this is a franchise that has stunk for many years running. And I'm pretty sure they didn't expect to immediately crater after that year as well.

by Willg (not verified) :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 5:01pm

Isn't that also the year Al Davis died? Might have wanted to "win one for the gipper"

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 8:36pm

Nah, Hue Jackson knew his job was on the line and he took advantage of the momentary power void to go all in.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 5:38pm

Stranger things have happened.

Although Kurt Warner probably had divine intervention, too.

by ankur (not verified) :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 5:39pm

The price for Palmer was actually a 1st (in 2012) and a 2nd (this year).

by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 6:05pm

Palmer horrible qb. Held Raiders back. Tema acquired real deal up and cominger in Flynn. Giuy going to be next Daryle Lamonica. Bakcup for sveerla years, then go to new team and blossom like tulip in spring. McKenzie and Allen weeded out garbage 2012. Signed good football players this offseaosn. Team truly on upswing. Goignnto blast off 2013. If bad injuries happen 11-5, otherwise this going to be 13-3 team. Will battle Denebr Brobcos first place. Should be githt race like 1985. Raiders will prevail in end as team have younger QV and better all around yalent

by MatMan :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 10:01pm

Wikipedia tells us...

"Daryle Lamonica went 66-16-4 as a starter, good for a 78.4% winning percentage, second best in NFL history (Otto Graham is the highest at 81.0%). In the American Football League, Lamonica's winning percentage as a starter was 90.0%, on 40 wins, 4 losses and 1 tie in 45 games, the best ever in the AFL."

We will see.

by Kitty Carlisle (not verified) :: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 10:36pm

You always make me laugh, Joe. Appreciate it.

by Alex51 :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 1:05am

Thanks for this, Raiderjoe. Your delighful, exuberant poetry continues to inspire us all.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 4:06pm

Please don't speak for everyone.

There are an awful lot of posters on here who think we'd be better off if RJ would just drop the schtick and contribute. He's clearly knowledgeable, but the l33tspeak gets old real quick.

by Eddo :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 4:49pm

You're confusing typos for l33tspeak.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:56am

They're not typos when they're intentional.

by justme_cd :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 12:14pm

I would agree and hope that RJ more powerfully contributes, except I already have the far fetched hope he currently participates without the typos at SportsOnEarth now.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:05pm

Please tell all of us just what *you* are contributing to this discussion.

by Alex51 :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 12:47pm

Please don't speak for everyone.

I apologize, I didn't know there was any backlash against Raiderjoe. I guess he's only an inspiration to some of us.

by commissionerleaf :: Sun, 04/07/2013 - 2:00pm

RJ is RJ.

Having his knowledgeable posts contributed without typos or Raiders homerism would make this site less interesting.

by Spielman :: Fri, 04/05/2013 - 9:56am

Nice to know that the Raiders have in fact, secured the services of the younger Queen Victoria.

by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 4:55am

I think this had to happen. Of course the focus is on the draft picks given the enormous price that Hubert paid during his brief front-office coup - but that's a sunk cost, and Reggie is treating it, rightly, as such. Palmer gave the Raiders a chance to win in 2011, but McFadden getting hurt didn't help them, whilst the defense was awful in both 2011 and 2012 and coupled with the suicidal gesture of re-scheming the running game (WHY oh WHY can't coaches learn that if they are given square pegs that fit into square holes, its a good idea not to change things to round holes and hope they can change the pegs too?, even if they are used to round holes? - but I digress), Palmer did ok this year in very difficult circumstances.

But he's obviously now a confirmed quitter, who didn't want to hang around to see if Reggie's 2nd, marginally less cap-constrained year would show improvement (let alone his 3rd when the Raiders should have a ton of room to progress), and if he doesn't want to show veteran leadership and try to build something for a couple of years down the line then the Raiders are better off without him. Especially as they are realistically going for a wildcard in 2013-14 anyway unless Manning moves on. I'm not sure Palmer will do much more in Arizona given his competition.

Flynn cost very little really and Reggie obviously knows him. I think this shows that Reggie doesn't think Pryor is up to it, which I agree with if only because if Reggie, Hubert, Dennis Allen and the assorted media aren't anointing him the best option, then its a long shot at best. And if he is that good, then he'll beat out Flynn in training camp like Russell did. And if they all fail then at least there could be a better draft QB crop next year.

So good move from Oakland in my view, now to fix the defense - which is far more important given the revolving doors that was the front-7 in run-defense for the past decade.

by commissionerleaf :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 12:44pm

The Raiders moved on from Palmer, not the other way around. Palmer isn't required to take a pay cut to provide "veteran leadership" to what still seems to be a fairly dysfunctional organization [See: Square pegs, Round Holes].

So now he will play for a team that values his services at the price he negotiated the last time he got a contract, which was a while ago now. Palmer is no Kurt Warner, but he is the best quarterback the Cardinals have had in Arizona NOT named Kurt Warner. Assuming attention is paid to the offensive line (and Oakland's line was pretty awful last year too), Palmer could be very productive in a scheme featuring Fitzgerald and some decent short-area receiving talent.

I don't understand the Raiders desire to have Flynn on the roster, given that they can likely find a quarterback equally valuable, for less money, in the draft or in free agency. Flynn's reputation is basically one Week 17 shootout against Detroit. You'd think either they give Pryor a shot, or roll the dice with Barkley.

by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 3:23am

You get $13m as the QB, I think you are required to provide veteran leadership, actually. You get $10m the same.
If there's a player in the league making 8 figures that doesn't acknowledge that at some point, they are going to have to do a cap negotiation downwards or be released, then they are incredibly naive. I don't think Palmer is such a QB.
If Brady can take less money than sure as hell Palmer could have. And Did. He ran out of town crying (again).

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:20pm

Take a look at the difference in talent in Oakland vs NE. There wasn't very much for Palmer to provide leadership for. Second, I don't believe for a minute that Palmer's pay level was Oakland's biggest problem. Their biggest problem was a decade+ of front office mismanagement and poor talent evaluation. I don't see what motivation Palmer would have had to renegotiate with a team destined to be basement level for the remainder of his career. It was to his benefit to be released so he could sign with a team that wasn't a pile of crap on both sides of the ball.

by Whatev :: Wed, 04/10/2013 - 5:09am

What I find interesting is that the Raiders seem--to me, at least--to do better than you'd expect, given how bad the roster has become.

by dryheat :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 7:45am

It's all about Seattle and Oakland freeing themselves from contractual obligations. Any draft pick at all, even a conditional one, is acceptable compensation for the cap room acquired.

by Guido Merkens :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 10:27am

Isn't the cap hit to a team who trades a player exactly the same as the cap hit to a team who releases a player? Or does the signing bonus proration switch to the acquiring team?

by dryheat :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 11:38am

The former team gets the acceleration of any unpaid signing bonus, but they get the salary off the books for those years. The current team isn't responsible for any of the signing bonus, just the annual salary. In both of these cases, though, the acquiring team and player agreed to a new contract, almost certainly as a condition of the trade, so they weren't saddled with the expensive contract the previous team signed them to. I think Palmer will make 10 million guaranteed, max 20 million with incentives, on a two-year deal. Flynn will make 6.5 guaranteed on a two-year deal, 11.7 million max.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 2:57am

It's not about the signing bonus, it's about other forms of guaranteed money - guaranteed salary or roster bonuses, for example. They accelerate with a cut, but move with the player in a trade.

by Dice :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 10:06am

I think the Raiders progress going forward will certainly be interesting.

by ammek :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 12:35pm

Their progress going backward would be more interesting still.

by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 11:53am

Tremendous disparity between what was paid for Alex Smith and this. Either it means KC truly thinks Smith stood head and shoulders above these guys or they got fleeced.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 12:54pm

It could also be both.

But FWIW, if I had to rank the three QBs in the order of what I'd give up to get them, it would be:
1) Smith
2) Flynn
3) Palmer

Which is the order that actually happened. "Head and shoulders" is a relative term, but Smith actually has looked like a viable starting QB the last couple years, whereas Palmer is getting old and developing a reputation for being a malcontent. One might prefer the youth and potential of Flynn, except he's not as young as some people think -- he's only 1 year younger than Smith. I don't think it's a coincidence that when some stability and talent FINALLY came to SF, Alex Smith started to look like a pretty decent player.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 4:15pm

"I don't think it's a coincidence that when some stability and talent FINALLY came to SF, Alex Smith started to look like a pretty decent player."

Matt Cassel looked like a pretty decent player in the stability of NE, and Kaepernick looks like a much better player in the new stability of SF. Having great players around you makes you look better, and I've got a real strong feeling that KC is going to find out that they just traded for Matt Cassel 2.0.

Kaepernick looks like he might be something special, but its telling that he beat out Smith so badly this year.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 1:54pm

I don't remember Smith being beaten out "so badly". From what I recall, it was a surprise that he was benched. Harbaugh perceived that Kaepernick was special, put him in there, and was ultimately proven right. Doesn't mean that Smith was doing anything particularly wrong. Prior to being benched, Smith was playing at a solid level.

As it happens, I agree with the assessment that Smith probably isn't going to be anything special in KC. But given the choice between Smith, Flynn or Palmer, I'd take Smith.

by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 4:20pm

Kaepernick significantly outplayed Smith. In his first couple games, he was significantly better than Smith has ever been. Thats not good when we're talking about a 6th year starter. Kaepernick's floor is higher than Smith's ceiling.

Smith is the sort of player who will give you better than average production with a fantastic surrounding cast, just like Matt Cassel did. Palmer is a better player, and Flynn has significantly more upside.

I think Smith is exactly the wrong type of player for a team like KC, who isn't close to being good. He'd be a good pick for MIN, or a team like that.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:58pm

This is plain mularkey. The statistical evidence doesn't show that Kaepernick performed significantally better than Smith, and the 49ers had a better regular season record with Smith than they did with Kaepernick.

You might argue that Harbaugh was lucking for an excuse to go with Kaepernick at the first opportunity, but I have doubts that he would have dumped Smith if not for the concussion Smith sustained in week 9, or if Kaepernick had done less well.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 04/11/2013 - 6:09pm

Kaepernick significantly outplayed Smith. In his first couple games, he was significantly better than Smith has ever been.

Yah, what?

No one was saying that after his first couple games. People thought the Chicago game might be a fluke; Kaep didn't look so good against St. Louis, twice. The locker room was split. That decision was not a no-brainer. Smith was playing well. First in passer rating, 7th in QBR, interception rate very low, yada yada.

So...what history are you fabricating there, Anonymousse?

by commissionerleaf :: Sun, 04/07/2013 - 2:08pm


The best QB of the three is Palmer, and it is not close. However, he is also the oldest.

by Alex51 :: Wed, 04/03/2013 - 12:56pm

Well, I think that Smith went for more than Palmer because Smith has steadily progressed from terrible to average in recent years, while Palmer has declined from elite to average. That, and the fact that Smith is about 4 years younger than Palmer. Obviously, Palmer has been much better if you look at their entire careers, but who do you think is going to be a better QB over the next 3 years?

As for Flynn, he's too much of an unproven commodity, and he's only a year younger than Smith. I'd say it makes sense that Smith is the one that went for a high price, while the other two were basically given away for spare change.

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 3:01am

"who do you think is going to be a better QB over the next 3 years"

Close, but I'd say probably Palmer. I think the environmental factors are a bigger deal here than the age/development ones.

by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 10:04am

Agreed, close. I'd like to go with Flynn, but he's got nothing to work with.

FO posters are a peacock. You got to let us fly!

by Raiderjoe :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 10:10am

Draft will help. But have g ooodplayers in place already for Flynn

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 11:52pm

I think Flynn is lost. I believe his talent is overrated based on a couple of good-looking starts against teams with depleted secondaries, with WR talent far beyond what he'll have in Oakland. Hell, he couldn't win the starting job in Seattle against a 'short' rookie QB with better WRs than the Raiders have.

by Alex51 :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 1:07pm

I think the environmental factors are a bigger deal here than the age/development ones.

Fair enough. I didn't take into account the teams that they went to. Then again, if we're discussing how much a given team should give up for a QB, that's not really relevant. I mean, if the Chiefs are deciding between Palmer and Smith, they have to figure out who would be a better QB on the Chiefs. I suppose I should've phrased my question as: if Palmer had gone to the Chiefs, would his next 3 years be better than Smith's?

by Mr Shush :: Thu, 04/04/2013 - 5:45pm

I guess I'm talking more about the environmental factors on their previous teams distorting our impression of their current abilities. I'm saying Smith was playing with outstanding supporting talent and looked better than he was, and Palmer was playing with inferior talent and looked worse. Smith is probably a better scheme fit in KC than Palmer, but overall I think Palmer remains the superior player, and will show as much now that he has Fitzgerald to throw to, while Smith loses that fantastic line. I mean, neither's an ideal situation or anything like, but that's my take.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 04/11/2013 - 6:12pm

Smith has played well behind bad lines before. See: 2nd half of 2010, all of 2011.

That line has only been fantastic since Boone stepped in at right guard and A. Davis learned how to pass block.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 04/12/2013 - 3:09pm

Smith's DVOA in 2011 was only 3.1%, and I still think that was in a moderately helpful context overall. I'm quite prepared to believe he's in general capable of being a roughly league average starter. I just don't think he's capable of much more than that.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 04/12/2013 - 3:09pm

Double post deleted.