John Clayton is a hero (and I use the term here loosely). Here's a man who looks a little bit like he either should be a Monopoly Guy impersonator, a financial analyst for CNN, or at best covering Olympic figure skating. Yet somehow he defied all stereo types of what a sports reporter ought to be like to become of the lead writers over at ESPN. I've watched this man go toe-to-toe with former player-turned-analysts arguing the finer points of the game and come out on top. And even if he's not always right, I respect the man.
In Clayton's mailbag this week, he was answering questions about QBs, and of course, the Bengals came up a few times in the conversation. The most interesting nugget of information that he dropped was when a blogger asked him whether or not they think that the 49ers might make a run on Christian Ponder or Andy Dalton. Here's what he said,
One problem is getting the quarterback in the second round. Florida State's Ponder isn't going to fall below Cincinnati's pick in the second round, and there is a chance TCU's Dalton could be gone by the time San Francisco picks in the second round (45th overall).
Its beginning to look like if the Bengals are sitting there with the the 35th pick in the NFL draft, and Christian Ponder is still on the board, there's a pretty good chance that he'll be wearing stripes next year. If this happens, please join me in voting that Jason Garrison be nicknamed "the Swammy of the Jungle" for his pick in this year's annual Cincy Jungle mock draft.
Clayton also rehashed his opinion that Carson Palmer probably won't be traded, but added that next year a trade might be a possibility.
The Bengals won't trade Palmer under any circumstance. You can count on that. Owner Mike Brown is not going to open the door to other players asking for trades by fulfilling Palmer's request. I do believe Palmer will miss the season. We'll see if that changes Brown's mind for the 2012 season and whether or not he would trade him then. This isn't affected by labor talks whatsoever. The decision is already made -- on both sides.
And Bengal nation collectively shakes its head.