So quarterback Matt Flynn is expected to be heading from Seattle to the Raiders in a trade. And that would leave Carson Palmer on the way out of Oakland with, seemingly, the NFC West as his next destination.
Reportedly, Palmer is most interested in the 49ers and Arizona Cardinals. And if he's interested in the 49ers, there seems to be no reason he would not also be open to reuniting with his college coach, Pete Carroll, with the Seahawks.
Colin Kaepernick is entrenched as the 49ers' starter. Scott Tolzien is the only other quarterback on the roster. Tolzien, the No. 3 quarterback in both of his NFL seasons after the 49ers claimed him off waivers from San Diego after final cuts in 2011, has not taken a snap in a regular-season game.
Certainly, the Cardinals seem to be the logical landing spot. Arizona released Kevin Kolb and signed Drew Stanton this offseason. Palmer, obviously, would be expected to start. The Cardinals also have $12.4 million in salary-cap room to satisfy Palmer's money demands.
Meanwhile, there are not starting jobs available with the 49ers or Seahawks with Kaepernick and Russell Wilson firmly established in those spots.
The 49ers have close ties with Palmer's agent, David Dunn, who has represented coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke in the past. But does Palmer fit with the 49ers? It's of no concern that Palmer's style is in no way similar to Kaepernick's. After all, the 49ers' offense is diverse enough to be able to adapt to the strengths of any quarterback.
The 49ers probably would not offer much money to Palmer to carry a clipboard. The 49ers are $4.5 million under the $123.9 million salary cap. It is expected to take more than half that amount to account for the signing of their draft class, a league source estimated.
The 49ers have the ability to create additional cap room this year, but the organization is believed to be reluctant to tie up cap dollars for future seasons. The 49ers currently have 40 players under contract for 2014 at a cost of $98 million. But such players as Kaepernick, Aldon Smith, Michael Crabtree, Anthony Davis and Mike Iupati are in line for lucrative long-term contract extensions.
The 49ers will add two quarterbacks onto their 90-man roster in the offseason. And Harbaugh has shown that he does not believe it's necessary to go with a veteran safety net. In 2011, the team went with rookie backups Kaepernick and Tolzien behind then-starter Alex Smith.