By Mike Salk
So much for all the Carson Palmer speculation.
Fox Sports reports have the "retired" quarterback on his way to Oakland in exchange for a first round pick in 2012 and a conditional future pick that ESPN's Chris Mortensen tweets could become a 2013 first rounder. It is obviously a huge bounty for a player that has been often injured in the past few years and at 31 years old, may have his best years behind him.
Putting aside some of the fun questions about what made Bengals owner Mike Brown finally come to his senses, the biggest question here in Seattle is this: would you have wanted the Seahawks to have given up a similar package of picks for Palmer?
Carson Palmer appears to be headed to Oakland. (AP)
If the Seahawks had given up a first round pick before the 2011 season for Palmer, I would have understood it. They were embarking on a new era (post-Matt Hasselbeck) and they would have tabbed Palmer as the best option to lead them into it. They would have started 0-0 (like everyone else) in a division that looked eminently winnable.
But as we sit here now in Week 7, the team is 2-3, more than 2.5 games behind the 49ers in the NFC West. It is hard to imagine even a healthy, effective Palmer making the key difference in a Seattle playoff run. That stands in sharp contrast to Oakland where the Raiders sit at 4-2 and have just lost their starter, Jason Campbell.
In order for a Palmer trade to make sense for the Seahawks, he would have to become not only their quarterback for 2011, but also their quarterback of the future. That is to say that at 31 years old, he would have to play at a high level for the next three to seven years.
Is that possible? Sure. But is it more likely than a first round pick in a 2012 draft class that includes Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Landry Jones panning out? Doubtful, especially when you throw in an additional 2013 potential first round pick. For that price, the Hawks could draft quarterbacks in EACH of the next two first rounds and I'd have to assume one of those two would pan out better than Palmer would.
Those who would want Palmer here would argue that Tarvaris Jackson is battling a pectoral injury that may be severe enough to limit him in the coming weeks. They would argue that Pete Carroll has won with Palmer before (at USC) and that when healthy, Palmer has been an elite quarterback in the NFL.
Ultimately though, Palmer was worth more to a team over .500, competing for its division title and without its starting quarterback than he was to a team still looking for a long term solution at the position. That's why Palmer is going to be a Raider and not a Seahawk, and that is probably a good thing.