How does any of this affect the New York Giants? Well, directly it doesn't. Palmer won't be replacing Eli Manning at the helm of the Giants offense. Indirectly, however, it might. I can think of at least five NFC teams who might be willing to make a play for the seven-year veteran.
Let's take a look at them.
Washington Redskins: The marriage between coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb flopped, and is headed for an off-season annulment. Is Shanahan really prepared to hand the keys to the castle to Rex Grossman? Maybe he says he is, and maybe he will short-term if he has to. The Redskins will probably strongly consider drafting a quarterback in the first round. If Shanahan wants to try again with a veteran quarterback Palmer is a massive upgrade from Grossman, so it might be worth a try.
San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers quarterback situation was a mess in 2010. They tried Alex Smith and Troy Smith, and I don't think either guy is the long-term answer. They signed David Carr away from the Giants and -- pretty much like everyone else Carr has ever played for -- found him wanting. San Francisco thought it was good enough to win the NFC West in 2010, but the 49ers imploded for a lot of reasons. In San Francisco they are already talking about the possibility of acquiring Palmer. To me, a move like this makes more sense for the 49ers than starting over woth another No. 1 pick at the position.
Seattle Seahawks: I was surprised to read this morning that the Seahawks might be willing to make a play for Palmer. Matt Hasselbeck is probably near the end of his days as an NFL starter and I'm not sure Charlie Whitehurst is any sort of long-term answer. Maybe this makes more sense than I originally thought, especially is Seattle is ready to move past the Hasselbeck era.
Minnesota Vikings: Well, we know this story. Brett Favre is gone. Probably ... hopefully, anyway. Tarvaris Jackson is not the answer. Neither is Joe Webb. Rhett Bomar, you say? Probably not. It has been widely assumed that the Vikings will be a McNabb suitor when the Redskins either cut him loose or get ready to trade him. If Palmer is on the market you have assume they will at least kick the tires.
Arizona Cardinals: NFC Super Bowl reps in 2009 with veteran Kurt Warner. Among the dregs of the league at 5-11 in 2010 after Warner retired. They simply don't have an NFL-caliber quarterback on the roster. You would have to think that they would jump at the chance to get a guy like Palmer to deliver the ball to Larry Fitzgerald.