CINCINNATI OH - DECEMBER 05: Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals throws a pass during the NFL game against the New Orleans Saints at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Saints won 34-30. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Sorry if it seems like we're a broken record, or that we're repeating ourselves, but Tuesdays is my "off day". What happened Tuesday? The Mothership's Geoff Hobson wrote that the Bengals might now have the luxury of options with Carson Palmer now that the team drafted TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.
If anything, the Dalton pick may make sure a trade doesn't come off. Now the Bengals are not forced to do much of anything, although they are mulling a veteran free agent quarterback for a staff that has all of 14 NFL passes. Draft picks are going to have to be involved if they trade Palmer, so maybe they’re thinking why not wait until next year when a) they actually know what they’re trading for and the things have some value and b) they know what the rules of the draft are actually going to be.
It's a fair point. Making a trade now would could mean several things. Most importantly, if you trade Palmer now to a team that played poorly in 2010 for 2012 draft picks, what happens when Palmer goes there and the team vastly improves? Instead of getting a top-ten pick, now you could face a pick in the latter third of the 2012 NFL Draft, losing upwards to 20 positions.
Now, Josh. Do we really believe Palmer will single-handedly push a new team to the playoffs after what we've seen? No player in the NFL single-handedly does anything. But a situation could resolve itself with Palmer being the final piece of a solution that puts a respective team from a four-win season in 2011 to the playoffs in 2012. Don't believe it can happen? Read, 2009, Bengals.
Former Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton disagrees that Palmer should stay for any reason, because he believes that the Bengals can't move on. It's another fair point. If the ghost of Palmer sits in the lockerroom, will players put aside that allegiance and follow Dalton? "Let the young kid win the locker room," says Thornton. "Number nine has it now." Probably the most realistic truth between the lines of informed conjecture.
Our favorite scenario, one that presents the best option for all parties is this. Do the Boomer Esiason. Make a compromise. Bring Palmer back for one more season and promise to trade him after the offseason. In the meantime, he'll mentor Dalton like Kitna did with Palmer. After the 2011 season concludes, make your trade.
Along with Palmer's value not taking a nose-dive because he took a year off, the Bengals could choose the trade they want. In the meantime, Dalton just spent a year developing.
In the end, we're forced to agree with Thornton. The Bengals have to move on from Palmer. Either through a trade the instant the lockout is lifted and the league year begins, or through an understanding between the team and quarterback that there's one season left and then it's time to go, allowing a seamless transition.