One of the trends that has seemed to change over the past couple of seasons with the Bengals is their willingness to move players that are no longer wanted and/or needed. Over the past calendar year or so, the team has moved three major players on both sides of the ball in Carson Palmer, Chad Ochocinco and Keith Rivers. When teams make it known that players are available, they usually are unable to receive anything back for them, in terms of compensation, but the Bengals were an anomaly in that regard.
They had who many deemed a "franchise quarterback", along with two other productive players that were attractive to other teams and were able to receive lucrative draft picks who have helped to improve their roster. In case you have lost count as to what the team exactly received for these trades, The Cincinnati Enquirer's Joe Reedy has a breakdown for you to check out:
By my tally, that seems to be three fringe starters for 2012 and beyond, for two players that didn't want to be in Cincinnati (Palmer and Ochocinco) and one that wore out his usefulness (Rivers). Beyond that, it looks as if there's at least one more starter on the horizon with the second round pick next year. Needles to say, it was a very exciting set of deals for the club.
That's not to say that the other clubs didn't benefit either though. Regardless of your opinions of him, the Raiders wouldn't have been in the playoff hunt in 2011 without a viable quarterback like Palmer and the Patriots needed receiving options for Tom Brady last season. Even though Ochocinco has since been released, it was a chance that the Patriots could afford to take, even though it didn't work out. The Giants were pretty slim at the linebacker position last year, so acquiring Rivers made sense for depth purposes. Sometimes these things have a way of working out for both parties.
Still, it's hard not to see how the Bengals have cleaned up here after Reedy's breakdown. The team has put themselves in position to have a solid roster for the next few years and their Super Bowl window is open because of it. Let's hope that the unproven players that they received from these trades become heavy contributors in the very near future.