Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bengals Move, Palmer Sits

While the dust settles from the NFL draft, the big neon sign from the Bengals war room says the Carson and Ochocinco era is over. Carson Palmer is the interesting subject here. When he went to Mike Brown and demanded to be traded, Palmer appeared to hold all of the cards. The second round choice of Andy Dalton changed everything. Now Carson will get his wish if there is an upcoming season. He will sit. He will retire. He will listen to the California surf as opposed to hearing cheers, boos, maybe a lot of boos, and referees whistles. Not a bad choice for a guy who has made the money Palmer has made. Maybe Palmer is flat burned out. Whatever the case, the Bengals no longer tie their future success to a guy who has lost his passion to play in Cincinnati. Unless someone bowls Brown over with an offer of draft picks, and it's contingent on the deal happening before the 2011 season, Mike has no reason to be in a hurry. The Bengals will most likely want draft picks (or a pick) for Palmer. Those picks are the same now as they will be after the 2011 season. Mike can't use those picks until April, 2011, or beyond. So why should he be in a hurry? He can afford to let Carson sit. Sure, there's a chance Palmer's value could deflate if he sits out a season. But based on this past weekend with teams reaching high for quarterbacks there is reason to believe someone will hold Palmer in high regard. If Jake Locker is worth the 8th overall pick, surely Palmer could fetch a late first round pick. Look at Carolina for an example of how quarterback crazy the league has become. They spend a second round pick on Jimmy Clausen in 2010, then the top overall pick for Cam Newton in 2011. So let's say any of the quarterbacks drafted this weekend are busts, then Palmer could be in high demand after the season. The problem for Brown and the Bengals, Andy Dalton better not be that bust.

As for the rest of the draft:
The Bengals appeared to help themselves with A.J. Green, Dalton, linebacker Dontay Moch, offensive lineman Clint Boling, and safety Robert Sands. This could be two solid drafts in a row. But drafting is half the battle. Development is the rest. Development has been a huge problem for the Bengals. Mike Brown points to the failed draft of 2005 as an example of how the Bengals development program came off the rails. Brown likes to pretend that draft blew up in the Bengals faces unexpectedly. But there were known risks with that draft. There is hope. Last year's draft picks all seemed to improve as the season went along. When finally given a chance Jerome Simpson (what took so long????!!!) was able to show he had learned a thing or two. Now the Bengals have new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden (a former college quarterback) and a respected wide receivers coach in James Urban. That should be a big positive when developing Dalton and Green.
(Although in Green's case, I don't know how much developing is needed. He appears NFL ready.)

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