Yesterday, Adam Schefter caused a stir with Raiders fans by tweeting that it was “highly unlikely” that QB Carson Palmer would be willing to restructure his contract.
This likely means that the Raiders had asked Palmer, through his agent, to take a paycut for 2013, something that most players are adverse to doing.
There was much discussion about what this meant for the team and what their options were.
Last year the Raiders were faced with a decision with Palmer – cut the QB for whom they had traded away a 1st and 2nd round pick (at least) or pay him his $12.5M salary for 2012. The cap situation, as you probably recall, was even more dire for the Raiders in 2012 than it is this year.
GM Reggie McKenzie chose to retain Palmers services and came to an agreement with Palmer to restructure his salary. Instead of being paid a $12.5M base salary, all of which would have been on the books for 2012, Palmer agreed to drop his base salary to his veteran minimum of $825,000 with the remaining $11,675,000 converted to a signing bonus.
Signing bonuses are spread out over the life of the contract and so the Raiders added two years onto his contract, making it a 5 year contract (5 years is the maximum amount of years that a team can spread out a cap hit under the CBA).
This extension took the entire contract through 2016 with the last two years designated as “voidable.” Basically, the deal was through 2014 as no on either side expects for Palmer to be with the team through 2016 – the two voidable years were simply to provide maximum cap savings through the first few years of the deal by spreading out the cap him over the maximum allowable amount of years.
Taking $11,675,000 and dividing it by 5 (for the amount of years the contract is spread) gives a prorated signing bonus of $2,335,000 for each of the 5 years of the deal.
The 2013 numbers:
In 2013, Carson Palmer is set to make a $13 million base salary. He also has the prorated bonus in the amount of $2,335,000 that will count against the cap which gives him a total $15,335,000 cap hit if he’s on the roster as of week one.
The salary cap per team is approximately $123 million for 2013 which means that as of now, Carson Palmer’s cap hit is approximately 12.5% of the team’s total cap number.
The team is also carrying a large amount of “dead money” in 2013, already. Dead money is money that they are paying to players – such as Richard Seymour, Darrius Heyward-Bey and many others – that are no longer on the team but whose contracts still affect the cap for this season.
If Palmer is cut:
When a player is cut, their guaranteed money accelerates into the current season. Therefore, if the Raiders cut Carson Palmer this year, all of the remaining guaranteed money from the $11,675,000 signing bonus signed last year would come into 2013’s cap.
The Raiders paid 1/5 of that money last season as part of the prorated amount so four years’ payments of $2,335,000 remain, or $9,340,000.
If the Raiders cut Palmer today, that $9,340,000 would count as more dead money for 2013.
Therefore, the Raiders must decide if Palmer is worth keeping around for approximately $6 million in cap savings for this season as well as savings in future years.
The $6 million is the approximate difference between his current cap number, $15,335,000, and the cap number for his dead money if he were cut, $9,340,000.
If Palmer is cut, the actual savings is much more in "real dollars." Because the Raiders have already paid Palmer the signing bonus last season, the $9,340,000 is just accounting - they don't actually have to pay him the money any more. Therefore, the "real dollars" savings for the Raiders in 2013 is $13 million dollars - the amount they would pay him in base salary.
If the Raiders choose to keep Palmer around this season, McKenzie will have to make another decision about Palmer in 2014.
In 2014, Palmer’s base salary moves up to $15 million and he still has a prorated signing bonus amount of $2,335,000 for a total cap number of $17,335,000.
If he were cut in 2014, the remaining amount of the signing bonus would be slightly over $7 million in dead money for 2014, for a cap savings of over $10 million in 2014.
The "real dollars" savings, again, would be his base salary of $15 million in 2014.
To my knowledge, the Raiders have no reason to have to make any decisions right now. Palmer doesn’t have a bonus that will come into effect in the near future that forces the team’s hand in having to decide anything right now.
The only deadline the Raiders really have is whether Palmer is on the roster at the beginning of week one of the regular season. If he's on the roster at that time his entire 2013 salary becomes guaranteed because he is a vested veteran. If he's cut before then, his 2013 base salary is not guaranteed.
The best option is likely to take both Palmer and Pryor into training camp in July, let them compete and make a decision at that time as to what they want to do. It's anyone's guess, and if you could bet on it at bwin live betting, there would probably be a plethora of various options.
If Pryor earns the starting nod outright or is at least close to Palmer, Palmer can be cut at a later date and the cap implications are no different than they are now.
Also, the closer to regular season things go, the more leverage swings from Palmer to the team. Right now, Palmer has leverage because there are teams that need a starting quarterback and he would be the top QB on the market.
During or after training camp, most teams will have a full roster, less cap room and more plans already set and in motion. At that time, Palmer may be more amenable to a pay cut to stay with the team.
There is also the incentive that if the Raiders wait until after June 1st to cut Palmer this year, his accelerated cap hit of $9,340,000 can be spread out over both 2013 and 2014.
Clearly, it’s much easier for the team to deal with only $4,670,000 in dead money in 2013 and the remaining $4,670,000 in 2014.
Finally, there is an option that the team could choose to restructure Palmer, again, without asking for a pay cut. This would be comparable to what they did last year when they converted his base salary into a signing bonus so his actual take home pay for 2013 isn't changed.
This isn’t likely as it would require additional amounts of prorated signing money that will only hurt the team in the next year or two.
Instead, the team is likely to either keep Palmer with his cap number intact for 2013 or, as explained above, cut him after June 1st, especially if they have other options.
As always, for news or thoughts on the Raiders throughout the day, follow me on Twitter @AsherMathews
@AsherMathews if carson stopped this trade, he would pass haynesworth as the biggest dbag in nfl history.
So Al Davis is walking down the hallway in the Raider's complex and as he walks past the room where the offense is in session he hears a coach say "the object of the game is to control the clock". So Al stops, leans his head in and says "No - the object of the game is to score more points than the opposition." That's the kind of thinking we need right now. All this talk about the cap from management and "reducing penalties" from the coaches (good grief) tells me these guys are way too concerned with the BULLSHIT and not nearly concerned enough about building a winning team. When did our motto change from "Just win, baby" to "Just give me a season or two to get us under the cap and maybe then we'll win"? This is a classic missing the forest for the trees situation. Make the decision - is Carson in the team's future plans (you know, Reggie - the part of the plan where we start WINNING)? If not - GET RID OF HIM. Why keep him around if the only advantage is to save a few bucks while we continue to bleed to death on the field? Same with DMC - does ANYONE see him holding up the next Super Bowl trophy we win? I don't. GET RID OF HIM. Take what you can get in low priced prospects or draft picks and let's get moving here. I feel like we're standing in quick sand and the one guy who can save us can't decide whether to drag us out or let us continue to sink because he doesn't want to get his rope dirty.
I don't think we will cut Palmer ouright at all. hat I could see happening is him being traded though. A few trades I can see being made:
1. Bills trading up with us to #3 to take Geno Smith. We could pickup the Bills R1 #8 pick, there R2 #10 and Fred Jackson...
2. With Fred Jackson, McFadden can then be traded to... Bengals. I don't think McFadden will be back next year and I could see the Bengals traded their R2 #23 for McFadden. They have our R2 pick and already have a solid team without a lot of big glaring holes they need to fill and plenty of cap room currently. What they do need is a spark in the running game and McFadden + Green-Ellis would make a very good RB duo (I was hoping we would sign Green-Ellis ourselves last year). Let's also not forget who the Bengals RB coach is this season: Hue Jackson.
3. I think we could then posisbly trade down a couple more spots again (with maybe the Dolphins to #12?) and picking up a R3 pick in the process. The reason I have picked the Dolphins is that I think that Joeckel and Fisher will both be gone here and the Dolphins are not going to want to see Lane Johnson go at #11 to the Chargers (this would also help us stick one to the Chargers to!) and miss out on getting there LT replacement.
4. After the first day of the draft I think we ould then trade Palmer to the Jaguars or Jets for a fourth round pick plus a conditional 2013 pick depending on how his season goes.
5. As much as McClain is as good as gone I think he will be held on too until after the draft in the hope we can get something for him. I could see a team like the Colts that need some help at LB in their new 3-4 defense and with plenty of cap room giving up a R6 pick for him.
I think we could then draft the best player available at #12. Chance Wormack maybe to strengthen the OL? Star Lotulelei if we are looking at moving to a 3-4? Or another DT like Sheldon Richardson? Maybe CB Xavier Rhodes because we need as much help as we can at DB! Either way at #12 the choice for a top quality player will still be plentiful!
It'd be a waste to cut Palmer. There no suitable replacements in FA or the draft. Pryor sucks. Anyone who thinks Pryor is/can be good obviously didn't see all those wounded ducks he was lobbing week 17. I say keep Palmer and either trade for Cousins, Yates or Mallett or just wait til FA/draft next to find a new QB.
@AsherMathews Bottom line Palmer our QB through this season cut June 1, 2014
@tenosmith Trade has already gone through.
@JarrodRollins I disagree about Pryor. He needs a chance to prove himself and why not let it be this year? The team is completely rebuilding next year and having Palmer or not makes no difference. He isn't going to make this team a playoff team in any way so sned him on his way and start fresh. Keep Pryor and bring in another couple young QB's to compete. I would love to see Cousins traded for but I don't see the Redskins giving him up too easy with RG3's health still not certain. Same as Yates or Mallett coming cheap. I was hoping we would re-sign Jason Campbell again or Matt Moore but they are off the market now. One guy I think that could do with another chance in different sceneray is Colt McCoy. I think he has had a real hard deal with the Browns having nothing at WR or RB to help him when he had was starting.
All Palmer seem to forget that football is a team sport. Bad D, bad coaches, bad run game = No QB could save this team
But the most likely is that he stays through 2013 and is a designated June 1st cut early in F\/A in 2014, yes.@lifelongraiderr
I think he could be cut before week 1 this year. RT @lifelongraider Bottom line Palmer our QB through this season cut June 1, 2014
@AsherMathews I heard. But the longer that "snag" went on the less and less of a carson fan I was becoming. And I never disliked him
@nilbymouth I watched that week 17 game as Pyor threw wounded duck after wounded duck. His ability to pass and read a scenes is atrocious. I say try and trade him straight up for Cousins. Also swap 3rd or 4th round picks if necessary. I just want Pryor off my team. I certainly don't want to go the Matt Flynn either. Colt McCoy has a noodle arm. Maybe sign Fitzpatrick for a year. He can be good, but just gets into a funk sometimes.
@Indy! @JarrodRollins @nilbymouth This is the way I see it, I'd rather take Palmer's 15 mil cap hit than lose a 4th pick for Flynn and still taking almost 15 mil in cap hits.... Not to mention the big downgrade from Palmer to Flynn and the dreadful play of Pryor.
@JarrodRollins @nilbymouth 100% behind you on that JR - Pryor is NOT going to be an NFL qb in my estimation. Certainly not in the time we have left with him. As soon as we traded for Carson, we should have put every effort into molding Pryor into either a WR, a slash or a DB. How's he going to get on the field when we're paying Carson the bucks were paying him? A sure sign Hue was confused about personnel.
Same with Flynn. It was very telling that Joe Philbin - his former coach in GB - didn't even bother looking at Flynn when the Fins desperately needed a franchise arm. Now Flynn's riding the bench in Seattle behind a rookie. Anyone who thinks we're in a bad QB situation - look at Seattle - paying a guy $12 mil (or whatever) to carry a clipboard.
@AsherMathews Yes, but he's average QB. Not top 15 even though he's being paid as top 5. Do u really C us winning more than 6 gms with CP?
Still the first since Gannon. RT @Nation4Life While 4,000 yards looks great on paper a bunch of those yards were while we were down
@AsherMathews ok and at 4-12 that means nothing. I'm a die hard fan and will be but I don't see Palmer as the guy. TP in wk5 if under .500
First %s QB to throw for over 4000 yards since Gannon? %s? RT %s what has Palmer done besides throw INTs?
@AsherMathews i know
I'm not advocating for it. I'm just saying it's a possibility. RT @RawSports365 you're finally coming along Asher