With accurate news of Quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Carson Palmer’s restructures in hand, I figured now would be a good time to look at the set of moves that landed Flynn in Oakland, Palmer in Arizona, and what it all means for the teams involved.
First the Seahawks, who shipped out last year’s usurped before he held the throne starter Matt Flynn. As well know by now, the Seahawks netted a 5th in 2014, and a conditional pick in the 2015 draft. Considering all the circumstances, I can’t imagine that pick being high at all. Still, it’s a decent get for the Seahawks for a disposed starter making decent money. It does, however, also leave Seattle without a capable backup, with all due respect to Josh Portis. The Seahawks will incur 4 million in dead money, the acceleration of Flynn’s signing bonus, but are off the hook for the guaranteed portion of his salary (the Raiders will cover that) and will gain 3.25 million in space, along with Flynn’s would have been salary of 5.25 million. The Seahawks, with more than enough comfort as it pertains to the cap, I imagine will use the savings to find a backup quarterback, and work on extending their own.
Next, the Cardinals, who gain Carson Palmer for a swap of a 6th for a 7th and a conditional 7th the next season. Palmer was never going to see his 13 million salary, and sure enough isn’t going to see it in Arizona either. If the recently reported numbers are correct (and considering Mr. Brian McIntyre’s usual excellent work, they should be), Palmer will not only give the Cardinals something more than a warm body at quarterback (apologies to another deposed not quite the starter Drew Stanton) but something at least league average from the position. Palmer should be a good fit for Arians downfield attack as his arm has looked much better than the last of his Bengal days. Part of that though also assumes they keep him upright, and in that vein it would not be surprising to see the Cardinals and Raiders connect on another trade for the #3 pick come draft night. For now though, Palmer sees his salary reduced to 2 million this year, and along with the proration of his new 6 million signing bonus, gives him a cap number of 4 million for 2013. For 2014, his cap number is 10 million, though if he flops, or wants to leave, or for whatever reason is no longer in the team’s plans, the Cardinals could release him and save 4 million against the cap once Palmer’s acceleration and guaranteed portion of his salary is accounted for. Palmer’s contract will void after 2014 currently, though there’s plenty of time before then. The Cardinals overall cap health isn’t drastically affected by the Palmer acquisition and remain in decent shape.
Finally, the Raiders. The Raiders give up a 5th rounder in the 2014 draft (which according to more than a few essentially equates to a 6th rounder in this draft) along with a still unknown conditional pick. Some may pan this move for the Raiders, but I think it’s a decent fit. The quarterback class has been viewed with skepticism this year, and Flynn still has some upside. General Manager Reggie McKenzie also is obviously familiar with Flynn from their Green Bay days. Flynn can come in and compete with Terrelle Pryor (I’d expect him to win based on contracts and reports, but one never knows) and either serve as a veteran backup, a stop gap starter, or flourish into something more. Considering the way some 3rd day picks are thrown away, I think it’s a worthwhile gamble. Reports has Flynn originally getting an increase in base pay this season along with a reduction next season, but this is not the case and never did make much sense as Jason noted. New numbers finally released today have him reducing his former base salary of 5.25 million down to 3.25 million, and in return he gets the additional 1.25 million guaranteed (originally 2 million from Seattle already was) and a 3.25 million signing bonus spread over 2 years. Flynn’s 2014 base salary also reportedly has been reduced from 6.25 million down to 5 million, putting his cap hit that season at 6.625 million. Essentially McKenzie took 2 million from Flynn’s salary this season, and 1.25 million next season and combined it into a signing bonus. This will save the Raiders only 375,000 against the cap this year, but they maintain future flexibility if Flynn doesn’t work out saving 5 million next season if they release him, being on the hook for only 1.625 million.
The other part of this trade for the Raiders was dumping Carson Palmer’s contract. Conflicting reports makes it unclear who exactly wanted out, but it’s safe to say both sides had likely grown tired of each other. Palmer was not going to be around if and when the Raiders had successfully rebuilt the team and reportedly wanted to play for a team closer to contention. Palmer will leave the Raiders with 9.34 million in dead money, though the Raiders will save a hair short of 6 million in cap space and 13 million in cash by trading him. The Raiders also managed to secure a higher pick in this draft, moving up from the 7th into the 6th, along with potentially getting an additional 7th next draft. It’s not much, but it’s better than the nothing that was due with an expected release. These moves put the Raiders roughly 9.8 million under the cap, which while I won’t expand on in this post, currently gives them more than enough flexibility to eat all of Rolando McClain’s contract this offseason if they so choose.
It’s safe to say I think everyone is mostly happy with the returns. Arizona gets a quarterback who fits their direction without giving up a ransom, the Raiders get one who fits their team and save cap space and money, and Seattle unloads a player who was not in their long term plans though I’m sure Seattle would like a set backup quarterback, though the team is in amazing shape. In the end though, only time will tell how these trades fare.
Jim can be reached by angry Seahawks and Cardinals fans who know more about their teams than he does at JimOTC@gmail.com