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Carson Palmer just can’t catch a break

The former Bengals QB is one of the greatest “what if” stories in franchise history.

Buffalo Bills v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Recently, there was a bit of a discussion on Twitter about the Bengals’ recent Super Bowl run with Joe Burrow and whether or not Carson Palmer could have done the same in 2005-06.

Palmer, though, is not viewed in nearly the same capacity as Burrow for a few reasons:

Physically, Palmer had it all. But mentally, he never appeared to be able to rebound from the ACL tear, MCL tear, and dislocated knee he suffered against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Or the torn ligament injury to his elbow in 2008.

While Palmer did get the Bengals back to the playoffs in 2009, he was an absolute disaster, completing just 50% of his passes for 146 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception, and only four yards per attempt.

His final year in Cincinnati in 2010 demonstrated that he had given up. Despite having Chad Johnson, a still explosive Terrell Owens, and a line that allowed just 26 sacks, Palmer threw 20 interceptions and many other dropped interceptions. The team went 4-12 and was a massive disappoint.

After getting his wish and being granted a trade to the Oakland Raiders, Palmer continued to struggle while the team he claimed he couldn’t win with made the playoffs with a rookie quarterback, one Andrew Gregory Dalton.

In 2013, a now-34-year-old Palmer was traded once again, but this time for only a sixth round pick and another conditional pick. His new team, the Arizona Cardinals, wanted a veteran QB who could help install new head coach Bruce Arian’s offense. And Palmer was just the guy.

In 2015, the Cardinals glided to a 13-3 record and Palmer finished third in MVP voting. The playoffs, though, were a different story. The former Bengal who attributed his lack of postseason success to a bad franchise failed to prove his point on the biggest stage, throwing six interceptions in two playoff games and ending up with a shockingly-low 1.88 adjusted yards per attempt and QB rating of 43.2 in a blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers.

And so, Palmer is now left with a career that has more questions than answers. Would he have been able to sustain the momentum he had to start the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in that 2006 Wild Card contest and become the quarterback to break the playoff drought? Would that momentum have carried over into the rest of the postseason and been enough to win Cincinnati its first championship?

We can only wonder and debate, like we did in the video below:

You can also listen on iTunes or using the player below: