Updated story on Raiders trading for Flynn, trading Palmer


The Raiders are closing in on a trade for veteran quarterback Matt Flynn, according to a CBSSports.com report Friday.
In turn, the Raiders will trade incumbent starting quarterback Carson Palmer to the Arizona Cardinals, a subsequent report by the same website said.
Flynn, who turns 28 in late June, has started only two games in his five NFL seasons, both during his four years with the Green Bay Packers, when current Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was with the Packers.
The Seattle Seahawks signed Flynn last offseason in hopes of him becoming their starting quarterback. That went by the wayside with the rapid ascension of Russell Wilson from a third-round draft pick to clear-cut No. 1 last offseason.
The report said the trade likely will be consummated “in short order,” though the Raiders say they won’t comment on the report.
Trading for Flynn almost certainly would end Palmer’s Raiders tenure, be it through release or trade.
Trading Palmer won’t be easy, given his prohibitive contract. It would become easier if Palmer agrees to restructure his contract in advance.
Flynn is scheduled to earn $5.25 million in base salary for 2013. Trading or releasing Palmer would compel the Raiders to absorb a $9.34 million hit against the salary cap, though they could push back all but $2.35 million of that figure into 2014 if they designate Palmer a post-June 1 cut.
Flynn, 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, burst onto the scene when he passed for 480 yards and six touchdowns in the Packers regular-season finale against the Detroit Lions on Jan. 1, 2012. He passed for 251 yards and three touchdowns in his only other start, in 2010 against the New England Patriots.
Last season, Flynn appeared in three games for the Seahawks. He completed 5 of 9 passes for 68 yards and no touchdowns in those games.
The Packers selected Flynn in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL draft, five rounds after they selected quarterback Brian Brohm. That same draft produced Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco.
Flynn has two years remaining on the three-year, $19.5 million contract — $10 million of it was guaranteed — he signed last offseason.


Breaking down Palmer’s situation


The Raiders are at a crossroads when it comes to their massive overhaul under general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Dennis Allen: stay the course with aging quarterback Carson Palmer or cut ties and go with a younger, cheaper player.
On Thursday, a Yahoo Sports story said the Raiders asked Palmer to take a pay cut from $13 million to $10 million in base salary for 2013 and that Palmer refused to do so.
The story also intimated that Palmer, 33, is forcing the Raiders hand by balking at a pay cut so that he can play for another team in 2013, one presumably with a better chance at winning the Super Bowl, after being released or traded.
Two people familiar with the situation said the Raiders did not ask Palmer to accept a $10 million salary for 2013 and that the speculation about Palmer’s future is being fueled from outside the organization.
Sure, the Raiders aren’t thrilled about paying Palmer a salary commensurate with the likes of Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady. At the same time, they realize that their best chances of winning next season lay with Palmer at the helm and not Terrelle Pryor or someone they might select in the NFL draft a month from now.
Palmer might not be as productive as he was in his prime with the Cincinnati Bengals, but he still is capable of playing at a level better than most quarterbacks as evidenced by his passing for 4,018 yards in 15 games last season.
For those writing off Palmer, they are overlooking the fact that releasing or trading him would cost the Raiders $9.34 million in dead money on the 2013 salary cap. Therefore, paying someone like Matt Flynn the $5.25 million he is slated to earn in 2013 is about a financial wash for the Raiders either route.
That doesn’t even take into account the cost of acquiring Flynn from the Seattle Seahawks via trade. A CBSSports.com report earlier this week said the Raiders are one of three teams interested in trading for Flynn.
McKenzie is quite fond of draft picks, and he already is without a second-rounder – part of the cost of the Raiders trading for Palmer midway through the 2011 season – and a fifth-rounder this year.
He certainly isn’t going to trade the No. 3 pick for Flynn, and it’s unlikely that he would be keen on giving up a third-rounder this year, either.
One potential option is, swapping picks in the third round with the Seahawks this year and throwing in a mid- to late-round selection in next year’s draft.
Other options include turning over the reins to Pryor, who has made one start in his two-year NFL career, in hopes of finding the next Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson, or using the No. 3 pick on someone such as Geno Smith and starting from scratch.
The one certainty is that the Raiders have time on their side. They boast $7.6 million in cap room as of now, Palmer’s contract isn’t going to change and there isn’t an urgency to make any rash decisions just yet.


Raiders release DT Kelly, free up considerable cap space


The Raiders released veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly on Wednesday, freeing up approximately $5 million in salary-cap room.
Kelly, 32, as the longest-tenured position player on the Raiders roster. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski is the only player on the Raiders who has been on the roster longer than the nine seasons Kelly spent.
Kelly was slated to earn $6.5 million in base salary this season and count almost $11.1 million against the salary cap. He also was scheduled to make $7 million in base salary in 2014.
Kelly is the fourth veteran player released by the Raiders this offseason, joining wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, free safety Michael Huff and defensive lineman Dave Tollefson.
The release of Kelly means the Raiders are without their top three defensive tackles from last season, along with Richard Seymour and Desmond Bryant.
In response, the Raiders signed veterans Vance Walker and Pat Sims. They also have second-year player Christo Bilukidi as a potential replacement.


Report: Raiders about to release Kelly, pursuing trade for QB


The Raiders are going to release veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly on Wednesday, according to an CBSSports.com report.
Kelly, 32, has spent all nine of his NFL seasons with the Raiders after being signed as an undrafted free agent.
Kelly is slated to earn $6.5 million in base salary in 2013. He carries an $11.1 million cap figure based on a signing and miscellaneous bonus on top of his base salary.
Earlier this season, the Raiders released veterans Michael Huff, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Dave Tollefson in cost-saving measures.
Another CBSSports.com report said the Raiders are one of three teams interested in trading for Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback Matt Flynn.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was in Green Bay when Flynn arrived in 2008 and spent his first four seasons as the backup to Aaron Rodgers.


OT Barron speaks with media after signing with Raiders


Here’s what offensive tackle Alex Barron had to say in a conference call with Bay Area media Tuesday, shortly after he signed with the Raiders:

Q: What other teams did you talk to and what made you decide to want to come to the Raiders?
Barron: It wasn’t a whole lot of teams. There were a few teams that I had to work out, that I been talking to. Not to mention, it was just a few teams who had seen me perform and do some things out there that looked pretty good or in shape or whatever. But at the end of the day, the Raiders, I felt like they had the most interest and the most belief and I went along with it. I felt like the Raiders as a whole, I know one or two people on the staff from the past. We had a pretty good relationship and I feel as though I can come in and help the team however it may be. But I feel like I can help them.

Q: You tried out for a few other teams and you spent camp with the Seahawks…what opportunities do you see with the Raiders that you may not have seen with those other teams?
Barron: I just had a sense of what direction that I feel like and what I’ve been told the Raiders are going in football-wise, team-wise, staff-wise, player-wise. I just feel as though I can come in and continue whatever they’ve already started and proceed on to the goals that they’re trying to make as a team.

Q: How is your knee? How is your health? Are you completely back to where you were before?
Barron: Yeah, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m healthy. I’m able to do some things I maybe had a little trouble with before when I was injured. I’m good to go.

Q: Was the knee still a factor last summer when you were in camp with Seattle?
Barron: No, it wasn’t really a factor. Right now it’s back to 100 percent totally and I’m looking forward to working with the Raiders.

Q: Between 2006 and 2009 you were pretty much a full-time starter. What do you think happened between then and now aside from the injury?
Barron: I’m not here to say. I’m just looking forward to this new opportunity out in California to get that going, start working the team and the coaches and we can get a good thing going.

Q: What have you been focusing on the most in your game since the last time you set foot in training camp with an NFL team?
Barron: I’ve just been working on all-around things, not necessarily working on particular things. When I get in there, get more in detail with Coach Sparano and some of the other coaches, he can detect some things that he may see. I’ve heard about him. He’s a pretty good coach and I heard he’s a pretty good teacher, also. And his knowledge of the game is A-1 and I’m just getting eager to get in there and learn everything he can show me or tell me, make my game better and help the team.

Q: How much has not playing these last few years made you miss football?
Barron: A lot. More than I would ever know. Anybody who has been in this situation, they know. The love for the game is unmatched. It’s almost equal to none. When you’re away from it, it takes out of you; it takes away from you. You realize that if you didn’t know before, that actually makes you notice a little more because when it’s gone, it’s gone. You want to do your best to stay on track, be on top of your game, so you can continue.


Report: Palmer ‘unlikely’ to restructure contract


Quarterback Carson Palmer helped out the Raiders last year by restructuring his contract. He isn’t intent upon doing so again this year, according to a report Monday.
An ESPN report said Palmer is “highly unlikely” to redo a contract that calls for Palmer to earn $13 million in base salary this season.
Last season, Palmer helped the Raiders save more than $9 million in salary-cap room by restructuring his contract.
Palmer’s base salary dropped from $12.5 million to $825,000, in exchange for an $11,675,000 signing bonus spread out over five years. In terms of dollars, Palmer ultimately will receive the same amount he originally was scheduled to make.
As of now, Palmer counts $15.335 million against the cap for 2013, with $2.335 million coming as a result of the prorated portion of the signing bonus – spread out over five years — from last season’s reworked deal.
The Raiders already have restructured a few contracts this offseason as a means of freeing up cap room. Restructuring Palmer’s contract a third time – the first time came after the Raiders traded for him in 2011 – would give the Raiders even more cap room for 2013.
If Palmer balks, the Raiders options are limited to: cutting Palmer or paying him what he is slated to earn as of now. Palmer would count $9.34 million against the cap if he gets cut, though the Raiders would get out from under the $13 million base salary this season and $15 million base salary for 2014.
Palmer could not be reached for comment. A Raiders spokesman said the team’s policy is not to comment on contract situations.