Carson Palmer’s Leverage Will Evaporate over Time

Raider Nation wants action, but the best thing for the team actually might be inaction. At least that’s the case with Carson Palmer, who has a cap number of $15.3 million in 2013, according to The Raiders would be somewhat crazy to go into 2013 paying their quarterback such an absurd amount considering his level of production, but time is on their side.

Palmer holds all the cards right now because the Raiders probably aren’t comfortable handing Terrelle Pryor the starting job in 2013. Palmer would also be interesting to other teams looking for a quarterback, so he’s not likely to take a pay cut knowing he can catch on elsewhere as a starter.

The good news is that Palmer’s leverage is going to evaporate, but the Raiders will have to carry his cap number until the draft. After the draft, any team looking for a starting quarterback will have found their guy. The Raiders will also likely bring in a quarterback, which could either be a draft pick or a veteran.

By late April, the Raiders are going to have a lot more leverage in trying to get Palmer to reduce his $13 million in base salary than they will prior to and during the first wave of free agency. We’ll never know if the Raiders are really interested in Geno Smith unless they draft him, but the interest could have just been a tactic to get Palmer to take less money.

If the Raiders were to release Palmer, they would save $6 million and be charged $9.3 million against the cap (dead money). The Raiders can also create plenty of cap space by releasing Tommy Kelly ($4.7 million in cap savings) and Darrius Heyward-Bey ($5.3 million in cap savings). 

Free agency is really divided up into three sections. The first wave of free agency lasts for about a week or two and is when all the big names and premium free agents are signed, usually for much more money than they are worth. The second wave ...

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