Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated offers an interesting, if not inflammatory remarks against Mike Brown trading Carson Palmer, writing that "if you're wondering why black players feel there's a double standard in the NFL, Mike Brown's handling of Carson Palmer is another example", calling Brown a hypocrite.
His reasoning is this: The Washington Redskins offered the Cincinnati Bengals a first round pick during the 2008 NFL Draft and a conditional third-round pick in 2009 for Chad Johnson. That conditional third round pick could have upgraded to a first rounder if Johnson posted 95 receptions or more during the 2008 season. Mike Brown said no and that was that.
Now we'll tell you why Trotter is wrong to make that comparison:
First let's point out the obvious: It was a mistake not pulling the trigger when the Washington Redskins came knocking on the front door, freely offering a first and a conditional third round pick for wide receiver Chad Johnson. That being said, Chad Ochocinco actually returned to the team during a mandatory camp and slowly integrated himself back into the team. He had no leverage, no "do this or I'll do that". Furthermore, Chad's demand for a trade was believed to be more about money. Palmer was one signature away from filing his retirement papers, not returning to the team six weeks into the regular season. Those obvious differences alone should suggest a realistic understanding on how different both circumstances are.
There's more. When the Redskins proposed their trade in 2008, Chad Johnson posted a career-high 1,440 yards receiving on 93 receptions and eight touchdowns in 2007. Not only was his value tremendously high, his production was irreplaceable; Jerome Simpson and Andre Caldwell, at the time, weren't capable enough to supplement Johnson's production; it took nearly three full seasons to get what we're getting now out of Simpson. Clearly his skillset began declining since 2008, but that should be references as a hindsight argument -- which it is. But we're just residents of Mike Brown's world.
While it was a mistake not to agree to a trade for two potential starting players with high-value draft picks, it was understood somewhat why Brown wouldn't want that; Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson were a great duo during their time from 2004-2007 and, let's face facts, they put butts in seats inside Paul Brown Stadium.
Cincinnati failed to sellout their final four games in 2010, thus opening the door for Mike Brown to trade Chad Johnson to the New England Patriots. It's alright if you question that point of view, just remember, we're just renting space in Mike Brown's world.
Next on the docket, finally pulling the trigger on a Carson Palmer trade to the Oakland Raiders for a first round pick in 2012 and a second round pick in 2013.
Why were the Bengals comfortable trading Carson Palmer this year as opposed to trading Chad Johnson in 2008? Two words. Andy Dalton. More words. Dalton plus rapidly declining production from a well-paid quarterback that could cause a little congestion with the return of the salary cap.
Along with Mike Brown being so adamant that he wouldn't trade Carson Palmer, it took an obviously shocking offer from the Raiders to make Mike Brown budge from his initial position that he wasn't going to let players dictate to ownership, demanding out of their contracts early. But when Palmer made his demand for a trade, he did it behind closed doors and never through the media. When asked about it, Carson Palmer refused to answer any questions about the trade. He kept it in-house and civil. Johnson was at the Super Bowl, demanding a trade on every NFL show on radio row and any other broadcast he could find. It might not have made a difference, but in Brown's mind, an incredible prideful person, it's certainly possible.
On the surface, it makes sense. Why didn't Mike Brown trade Chad Johnson in 2008, but he traded Carson Palmer in 2011? When you actually sit back and think about the implications of the question, it's far less about questioning race and more about the environments that represents each trade (or no trade).
Long story short. Both players are gone and now the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green era can officially begin unimpeded.