-- Chris Burke, SI.com
With Jason Campbell on the shelf for several weeks with a collarbone injury, the 4-2 Oakland Raiders pried a disgruntled Carson Palmer out of Cincinnati Tuesday, giving the Bengals a 2012 first-round draft pick and a conditional 2013 pick for the 31-year-old Palmer.
The 2013 selection could climb as high as the first round, as well, and will be based on how well Palmer performs in Oakland.
Palmer demanded a trade this offseason, threatening to retire if Cincinnati didn’t comply. When the Bengals refused to deal him, Palmer simply stayed away — he never formally retired but also did not join Cincinnati for the preseason or any portion of the regular season.
As late as Monday, Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis reiterated that the team would not trade Palmer.
“I can’t speak for the Raiders, but our organization is very firm in the statement that Carson is retired,” Lewis said on the NFL Network.
But with the Raiders desperate enough to throw at least one, and possibly two, first-round picks Cincinnati’s way, the Bengals finally budged. Making the whole result even better for the Bengals is that rookie Andy Dalton, the 35th-overall pick in the 2011 draft, has filled Palmer’s position admirably, guiding Cincinnati to a 4-2 start and second place in the AFC North.
The Raiders, meanwhile, had only backup Kyle Boller, who hasn’t started since 2009, and rookie Terrelle Pryor left at the QB spot.
“If you’re a quarterback out there and you want to come play for the Raiders, give us a call,” Oakland coach Hue Jackson said Monday.
While Oakland figures to drop Palmer right into the starting lineup, how effective he’ll be remains to be seen. With the lockout and his standoff in Cincinnati, Palmer hasn’t seen any live action since Jan. 2 against Baltimore.
The Raiders will be counting on Palmer to step in and deliver — especially since this move clarifies that Oakland is going all out to make the playoffs this season. By dealing their first-rounder in 2012, Oakland is now without a pick for the upcoming draft’s first four rounds.
Oakland traded its 2012 second-rounder to New England as part of a deal that landed the Raiders a third- and fourth-rounder in the 2011 draft. The Raiders then used their 2012 third-round pick to select Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft, and their fourth-round pick belongs to the Redskins following the Jason Campbell trade.
So, if you’re keeping score, Oakland has coughed up three picks in next April’s draft for three separate quarterbacks.
A bonus in this most recent trade for Cincinnati: Oakland reportedly will pick up all of Palmer’s remaining salary for 2011 — he was set to earn $11.5 million over a full season. Palmer’s contract actually runs through the 2014 season, and he’s still on the books for $38.5 million over that stretch. Campbell, meanwhile, will be a free agent after the 2011 season, so it’s possible he has played his last down in Oakland.