Carson Palmer took the warm weather with him back to his native land of California as he was mercifully traded by The Tyrant to the Oakland Raiders earlier this week. It's been rainy and crappy here ever since, yet spirits are high within the Bengal fan base.
The Golden Boy quarterback famously quit on the Bengals after a 2010 season that burned and crashed like a German zeppelin within Paul Brown Stadium. Palmer could not soldier on and remain the company man that he so expertly fulfilled for eight long years. He felt unloved and frustrated with those around him in the end. Fans threw garbage in his front yard. He didn't want $50 million dollars if it meant one more day with the Bengals. "Keep it," he said.
Then, on the other side, you had Big Daddy Brown with his arms folded across his belly and his bottom lip sticking out, turned rigidly away from Palmer's direction. MB wasn't going to pander to a crybaby's wishes. The star player made a deal, signed a contract and had to fulfill his promise. That's the law; that's America. If he caved to his premier guy—his face-of-the-franchise—then everyone down to the long-snapper would try to muscle him around. No sir, he simply wasn't going to get rid of Carson Palmer so that he could prove a valuable point to the world: Mike Brown will not be strong-armed. So that was that; Carson would remain retired, and life would carry on without him. No offer would change The Tyrant's mind.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles West, another quarterback dropped back to pass, scrambled out of the pocket and dove forward, stretching the ball out just short of a first down. As he struck the earth, his right collarbone gave way under gravity's pressure and snapped, rendering the big man's throwing arm useless for many weeks. After the game—a win for the Raiders—Oakland found itself with a 4-2 record but without a capable QB. Their beloved patriarch, Al Davis, had passed away the week before, and there was pressure within the organization to just win now, baby.
The skull-phone rang in The Tyrants chamber and echoed off the stainless steel walls of his bomb-shelter office. He picked up the head and listened to his former employer, Hue Jackson, beg him for his forlorn QB. The offer that could not be refused was made. One and possibly two treasured first-round picks for a player no Bengal fan wanted in Cincinnati anymore; there was nothing to think about.
Of course, when discussing the Bengals general manager, one has to think back to the alleged Washington Redskins offer for Mr. Ochocinco in 2008, when the famed mouth tried publicly campaigning for an escape from Cincinnati. Brown refused two first-round picks then, and was burned once more when that information became public.
This time, though, he hung up the skull having made a deal. He made the right decision, but, as mentioned, it was a no-brainer. The fact that we Bengals fans feel good that our GM didn't do the stupid thing again and allow his stubbornness to foil sealing such a terrific deal, speaks to the character of the guy making these decisions. The man writing the checks and the man collecting the talent should be two different men, otherwise the business is subject to bias and emotion that can ruin good decision making. But not this time, thank God.
Yet, rather than focus more on the bad, I'd like to cheer things up and look at how everyone involved in this new arrangement is simply thrilled.
First off is the man himself, Carson Palmer, now dressed in the best uniform in football and back in the time-zone he was born into. He now has a tremendous play-caller, an abundance of pure speed in his receiving corps and an out-of-this-world running back to play with. He has a new fan base that now love him, his old Heisman number, and a new lease on life. This is the breath of fresh air that old No. 9 was gasping for, this is what will make him happy.
Then there are the Raider fans. They are fueled with excitement and optimism with the return of their California native son. They felt they were Super Bowl contenders with Jason Campbell, and now they feel even more so with Carson. In fact, I've always considered the two to be comparable quarterbacks in their style and size, and Hue Jackson won't have to change much of his scheme due to their similarities. If the Raiders do make a playoff run and wind up in the AFC Championship, the 2013 pick the Raiders traded to the Bengals materializes into another first-round pick in the deal, and once more, everyone wins.
Finally, are the Bengals. With their new premium picks, they can beef up a brimming stockpile of quality young talent that looks promising and exciting thus far. With two first-rounders in the next two drafts, the Bengals can lock up areas for years to come and really help themselves to a bright future. Even Woody Dalton should feel better having no longer to think about a Carson Palmer appearance in the Bengals locker room anymore, and Marvin Lewis won't have to answer more questions about a topic he doesn't like talking about. We Bengals fans get to put to rest the tired saga of Carson Palmer, and can rally behind our own 4-2 record.
Yes sir, this is a fine day for football and a damn interesting turn in the story of the Bengals. It marks a distinct and clear-cut chapter break that begins anew with the Woody Dalton era. The Carson Palmer segment of Bengal history is over but leaves us with a moral: take nothing at face value.
Mojokong--so long and thanks for all the picks.