The news that the Bengals were trading Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders was enough to blow the minds of almost every fan in Cincinnati. We were preparing for Mike Brown to let Palmer retire and watch the Bengals lose their one-time savior for absolutely nothing. Looking back at the deal, a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-round pick in 2013, it's obvious the Bengals made one of the biggest trades of the century. They received extra draft picks and went to the playoffs two years in a row while the Raiders ended up trading Palmer to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick (before they had even fully paid for him).
Now that the two picks have been used, the ties between the Raiders, Palmer and the Bengals are completely cut. It's time to take a look at what the Bengals actually received from their deal to send Palmer back home to California.
2012: Dre Kirkpatrick, CB, Alabama (No. 17 overall)
Kirkpatrick came into Cincinnati as a possible replacement for Johnathan Joseph in the secondary after he left for Houston in 2011. However, Kirkpatrick suffered a knee injury before the preseason that held him out all four preseason games all the way through Week 7. He was then inactive again in Weeks 13 and 14 due to a concussion and finally he was inactive again in the last two games of the season after he re-injured his knee.
Overall, he made four tackles, two of which came in Week 11 against the Chiefs. He didn't play enough, though, for the coaches to get an accurate idea of what he's capable of at the NFL level. In 2013 he is expected to compete for the starting cornerback spot opposite Leon Hall and get a chance to be on the field more often than not when the Bengals are on defense.
2013: Giovani Bernard, RB, North Carolina (No. 37)
The Bengals, needing a running back to complement BenJarvus Green-Ellis' style, selected Bernard with their first of two 2013 second-round picks. Bernard was the first running back to be selected and was the top back on the Bengals board. In the last two years at North Carolina, he rushed for 2,481 yards and 25 touchdowns. He also added 859 receiving yards and six touchdown catches.
Bernard has the potential to significantly boost the Bengals ground game and eventually take over as the team's No. 1 back. Green-Ellis will likely still get most of the carries between the tackles and in the red zone or in short-yardage situations, but Bernard is a home run threat and could play on any down. His initial role might be in third-down situations, though.
In the end, the two draft choices the Bengals used from trading Palmer offer nothing more than potential at this point. However, potential is better than watching a quarterback retire early and leave a sour stench in the locker room (metaphorically speaking). Even if Kirkpatrick and Bernard don't do much for the Bengals in their time in Cincinnati, they'll do more than Palmer would have done had Mike Brown not dealt him back in 2011.