The Raiders have been silent on the subject, and for the most part, so has quarterback Carson Palmer.
But the fact remains that in advance of the new league year, the Raiders have salary-cap issues and Palmer has a $13-million salary and a cap number of $15-million.
Oakland began the week approximately $1.5-million under the $123-million salary cap and had only 46 players under contract.
The Raiders reportedly have begun talks with Palmer’s agent to lessen the cap burden.
In an e-mail to CSN-Bay Area, Palmer said, “Not sure what’s going to happen. Would love to be back in Oakland and compete.”
Palmer passed for 4,018 yards with 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 15 starts before sustaining cracked ribs and a bruised lung and missing the season finale in San Diego.
It is not known whether the Raiders are looking to have Palmer restructure his deal and accept basically the same money or whether they’re looking for him to take a reduction in pay.
If the Raiders are seeking to pay Palmer less money, the possibility exists that they could be looking for another starting quarterback. If Palmer refused the request, the Raiders would then be forced to release him, leaving Terrelle Pryor as the lone signed quarterback on the roster.
Restructuring Palmer’s deal – adding additional years, reducing his salary and making up the difference in bonus money spread out over the length of the contract – would tie the Raiders to Palmer for the foreseeable future.
And at age 33, it remains to be seen whether Palmer will play quarterback on a Raiders team that is a legitimate factor in the AFC West.
Since joining the Raiders in a deal engineered by former coach Hue Jackson after starter Jason Campbell was lost to a broken collarbone, Palmer is 8-16 in 24 starts with 35 touchdown passes and 30 interceptions.
Originally, Palmer operated in a Jackson offense that emphasized power and gap running and leaned on the quarterback’s skills as a play-action passer.
Last season, coach Dennis Allen brought in Greg Knapp, who switched to more of a West Coast scheme that put Palmer on the move more often on rollouts and bootlegs.
Knapp was fired after the season, with Greg Olson hired as offensive coordinator. Olson plans on returning the Raiders to more power running and dropback passing, promising to strike downfield.
Olson coached Palmer’s brother Jordan in Jacksonville last season, where he was quarterbacks coach, and knows the family.
“We know what Carson Palmer is,” Olson said. “He’s played in the league a number of years. We know what he can do.”
Allen has talked of a “competition” for the quarterback spot with Pryor, although it appears likely that if both men are on the roster, Pryor’s use would in more of a situational nature as a runner/passer.
“We’ll go forward with the direction that the organization sees fit,” Olson said. “If they want competition, we’ll have competition ... you never know what’s going to happen in terms of contracts and what-not.”