The Real Winners of Carson Palmer Trade: the Cincinnati Bengals

So the drama is set.

At the eleventh hour, with controversy swirling around the recent injury of the Oakland Raider’s starting quarterback Jason Campbell still heavy in the air, head coach Hugh Jackson talked his way into having Mike Brown of the Bengals release his steadfast grip on Carson Palmer.

Perhaps it was Hugh’s sweet talking, or maybe Brown finally realized that there is no way any other team than the Raiders could give up that much for a commodity that would not – or could not – be used by the Bengals at all.

Because of Palmer’s hold out and refusal to play for the Bengals organization, apparently Brown had a feverish impulse to hold onto Palmer to tech him a lesson. Well, lesson learned. For both of them. In either case, this trade seems to benefit everyone, but perhaps not anyone more so than the Bengals.

While the debate of whether or not the Raiders gave up too much in order to acquire the not-so-green Palmer, who is now 31 years old and in his 9th year in the NFL, is debatable. For those who cheer for teams that already have a proven franchise QB, perhaps it seems too much. But then again, if you ask those who cheer for teams that hang their hopes on defense and special teams to win their games, this may seem like a great opportunity to finally gain a proven NFL caliber QB on a team with playoff aspirations this season. (although with unproven WR’s (Is TO still available? Or Moss? ….Hmm…. and the lack of a shutdown corner …..or anyone scary in the secondary….)

But I digress….

The main idea I want to communicate, which I think many people on the radio, news, online, and other media outlets are missing as they continue talking about how Palmer will influence the Raiders, is how the absence of Palmer will influence the Bengals.

Let’s face it: Carson Palmer would have been worth far less at the end of this season when he had not played a snap in over a year. There was no reason for the Bengals to hold onto him any longer, even with the vendetta and apparent need to punish Carson for his unfaithfulness. But now, looking into Cincinnati’s future, it seems much, much brighter.

Already this season, the rookie tandem of Andy Dalton and AJ Green are proving that they belong in the NFL. With their defense playing ferociously (now 6th overall in the NFL), a young offensive line (other than veteran Bobbie Williams) playing well together, and the emergence of Jermaine Gresham as the dominant receiving TE he should be, the Bengals looked poised for the future.

Gaining these draft picks can only mean good things moving forward. Perhaps the addition of an exciting running back via the draft (Trent Richardson?) to help the mediocre ground game and open it up for Dalton, or perhaps some help up front on the O-line (many options) or even another dynamic wide receiver to play opposite Green (Justin Blackmon?). Maybe a corner to replace the aging Nate Clements? (Those LSU corners look NFL ready to me)…

No matter what happens come April, the Bengals have certainly released an unnecessary burden on their organization, one that represented the old guard, and have replaced him with even more hope and optimism for the club going forward. In my mind: Well played. Well played.

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