Player departures lead to a better Bengals team

The Bengals have lost their share of players over the years. The recent trend appreciates that because instead of losing them, Cincinnati has actually become a better team.

Look back when, and apply what you know today.

Few players have left Cincinnati that currently evokes brooding attitudes. Many players that have kissed the beautiful Cincinnati skyline goodbye for one reason or another have found depressing situations and even more significant personal declines -- Chad Johnson, Johnathan Fanene, Frostee Rucker, Keith Rivers immediately come to mind. In the meantime, the Bengals not only have found replacements, but in many cases, actually applied upgrades.

There are aberrations to that. Which players have left Cincinnati that you wish were still on the team?

Obviously the Bengals haven't replaced Johnathan Joseph, but Cincinnati hasn't found themselves with much regret using a collection of veterans while waiting for the hopeful rise of second-year cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. Some go as far back as Justin Smith. Though at the time of his departure, most of the criticism was levied against Smith, not the Bengals, with his lack of quarterback sacks often being cited. Evan Mathis is another, though that divorce was related to Nate Livings' promotion and playing time than anything else.

It's always of interest to some when updating the file of former Bengals players -- where are they today and how does that relate to the Cincinnati Bengals. In reality it's not important. Offseason fodder generally leads to expansive subjects, some of which are simply not favorable to everyone.

Carson Palmer updates usually irritates the masses, but the core of that situation was that Cincinnati not only survived his declaration of retirement, they thrived. Became better. The Bengals found themselves with an actual team built with players, instead of players on a team. Cincinnati's passing game hasn't been this good since 2007, and even then the Bengals were bad. Mike Zimmer. Thank you.

As for Palmer, despite being reamed occasionally by new Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, he's happy.

"I love the head coach," Palmer said of Arians, a longtime offensive assistant who stunningly earned coach of the year honors after an impressive fill-in stint for the ailing Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis last season. "I mean, I love the head coach. He keeps it real. He already has this team wrapped around his finger. And we have some talented players in this locker room."

Disregard the fact that Palmer was happy when Oakland gave Cincinnati building material for further roster upgrades (his moods tend to follow the path of a roller coaster at Kings Island), the former Bengals quarterback is stoked about his team.

"When you like the coach and the guys in the locker room, and you know you can still play at a high level, and you feel like you can help take a team to a Super Bowl, and you know you're job's not gonna be as hard as it may have been before – it's just fun. It's been very fun since I've been here. And nobody thinks OTAs are fun."

Good for him.

As for Cincinnati, Palmer's greatest accomplishment was leaving. Along with acquiring Giovani Bernard and Kirkpatrick, the real benefit was that the Bengals disinfected a lockerroom led by personality, instead of leadership. Now that the Bengals window is open again, it figures to be open for a long time.

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