Life would be so much easier if the threat of quitting always achieved its desired effect. From birth until death, we would live in a Utopian dream. The child pushing his plate aside because he doesn’t want to eat his broccoli, wouldn’t have to eat his broccoli. And that dead end job that’s making it nearly impossible for you to pry yourself out of bed each morning would vanish.
Carson Palmer is essentially attempting the latter stunt. He’s the highly paid employee who doesn’t like his position in a floundering company, and is demanding to be moved to another department that’s thriving. If his wish isn’t granted, the 31-year-old quarterback has said he’ll retire. Could he be firing an empty, meaningless salvo across the bow of Bengals owner Mike Brown? Maybe, but the “for sale” sign on his five-bedroom, $2.1 million home says otherwise.
Brown said three weeks ago when the NFL’s owners met in New Orleans that he’s not trading Palmer, so his choices are to either languish in Cincinnati and play for a team that’s made the playoffs twice in the last 20 years, or go from pocket passer to couch quarterback.
While Palmer’s individual future remains uncertain, so does the Bengals’ draft strategy. Between Palmer’s newly-minted malcontent attitude and the professionally malcontent Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati has some key players unwilling to sustain more losing. Combine Terrell Owens’ departure through free agency, and there could be two massive holes at two key offensive positions.
What Cincinnati will do with their fourth overall pick what they should do are two very different things. The Bengals should draft the best quarterback on the board, assuming either Blaine Gabbert or Cam Newton are still available. But they won’t, meaning A.J. Green remains the most likely target.
Of course I’m probably wrong, which makes Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay wrong too. While speaking to Greg Hobson of Bengals.com, head coach Marvin Lewis said he wants a player who can contribute immediately, and step into a starting role without any need for further development and learning on the sidelines. It’s doubtful if any quarterback in this draft–especially Newton–is capable of those standards.
The projects–albeit minor ones–like Jake Locker and Ryan Mallett will likely be available in the second round when the Bengals pick 35th overall. Logic states that a quarterback has to be selected in the early rounds with Palmer’s oncoming exit act.
But Brown’s friendship and loyalty may be shielding him from logic. In late March Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald wrote that given the inconsistencies of Chad Henne and shaky ground that also supports his NFL future, the Dolphins are doing their homework on Palmer. Miami is certainly a fitting future destination, but in a separate post on Wednesday Hobson said nothing has happened to change Brown’s mind since he took his stern, stubborn stance three weeks ago.
As Hobson writes, Brown is a man who doesn’t take kindly to being backed into a corner, and may have difficulty letting go of long-held relationships.
Those close to Brown say Palmer is one of his favourite all-time Bengals. It figures. A great passer with a low-key, easy-to-like personality who never bought all the hype about himself.
The price will be high to get Palmer given Brown’s fondness for his franchise arm, and likely more than the third-round pick Dan Marino has suggested, a suggestion of course made only in theory because trading picks for players isn’t permitted during the lockout. Despite suggestions and speculation of a softening stance, at this point it’s still difficult to envision Brown caving to Palmer, or Palmer wearing those hideous orange-and-black stripes again.
However, the Bengals being awful on the field and making poor front office decisions is much more pleasing to the imagination.