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Monday, April 1, 2013
Rich Gannon chimes in on Oakland trade

By Bill Williamson

I caught up with the last highly-successful Oakland Raiders' quarterback, Rich Gannon, Monday night to talk about the team’s acquisition of quarterback Matt Flynn.

Some coaches around the league think Flynn can be a Gannon-like player. Gannon’s career took off once he became a Raider after a long tenure as a backup. Flynn, who will be 28 in June, has been in the league for five years and has started just two NFL games.

Gannon said he thinks the trade makes some sense for Oakland since Carson Palmer was balking at taking a pay cut. Still, Gannon thinks Flynn will be challenged to play well as a first-time starter with a team that is rebuilding.

"It’s going to be a challenge. He is going to a roster that is depleted of talent,” said Gannon of CBS and Sirius XM NFL radio. “There isn’t a single Pro Bowler on that offense. Their best receiver, tight end Brandon Myers, is gone. They aren’t great at receivers, they are very average on the line and you can’t trust Darren McFadden to stay healthy. ... But he will have a chance to have his own offense and he will get his chance to play. He is well trained.”

Gannon said he doesn’t see Terrelle Pryor challenging Flynn for the starting job this season. He said it will be pivotal for Pryor to continue to make strides and it will be difficult for him since he will be working under his third offensive coordinator in three NFL seasons.

Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Flynn restructured his contract. The new deal increased his 2013 base salary from $5.25 million to $6.5 million -- all of which is now guaranteed. In the second year, Flynn's base salary drops from $6.25 million to $5 million. The deal also has incentives and escalators that can bring the value up to $15.25 million.

$6.5 million is reasonable for a starting quarterback, but it would extremely high for a backup.

The new deal means Oakland is spending a half million more against the cap this season at quarterback with Flynn and Palmer’s dead money, than Oakland would have had Palmer been kept at $13 million. Oakland will get cap savings next year form the deal. The Raiders will have terrific cap space next year. The only question is will the team spend big signing bonus money as it rebuilds.

In other AFC West news

The NFL Network reports the Chiefs are down to four candidates for the No. 1 pick. A decision will be made in the days before the draft. A favorite to be the pick is Texas A&M left tackle Luke Joeckel. The team could still trade the pick.

New San Diego coach Mike McCoy is excited to begin the offseason conditioning program.