With the NFL trade deadline of October 18 quickly approaching, there's been much speculation about the situation of the Cincinnati Bengals' recently "retired" quarterback, Carson Palmer. Specifically, many have been wondering whether or not the Bengals would trade Palmer before next week's trade deadline. To be blunt, the answer is not over Mike Brown's dead body will that happen.
The Bengals' parsimonious patriarch is infamous for his unwillingness to budge when it comes to players trying to leverage contract changes or renegotiations. Mike Brown has stated time and again his unswerving commitment to the terms of a contract, and when Carson Palmer tried to force his hand this offseason by threatening to retire, Brown called his bluff. Now Palmer is sitting at home in Southern California and the Bengals are moving forward with Andy Dalton at the helm.
What many are wondering though is why not trade Palmer now and get some compensation while several teams, like Miami and Indianapolis, are struggling with injured starting quarterbacks? The easy answer why this won't happen is Mike Brown's intransigence. But this time, Mike isn't just being hard-headed, he's actually making a shrewd business decision.
First, Mike Brown is absolutely correct in not giving in to Palmer's demand for a trade. If that happened, only one party would benefit immediately from that, and that's Palmer. He would get paid (currently he's not) and the Bengals' compensation, even if it were a good number of draft picks, wouldn't be realized until April at the earliest when the draft takes place. Add in the time to develop those players, and the Bengals don't see any return for another year while Palmer gets paid right away. If Palmer wants to play the game this way, why not make him suffer for walking away from his teammates and his contractual obligations? What kind of precedent would Brown be setting if he simply allowed his franchise player to walk away from a contract?
Second, Palmer's trade value will actually be greater in the off season than it is now. If the Bengals trade him now, any team getting him will only be getting a stop-gap quarterback trying to save some semblance of a successful season. They're not going to pay much for a quarterback who has to learn on the job and will play little more than half the season.
After the season is over, however, those teams currently experiencing quarterback problems will still most likely be in the market, and the teams that don't win the Andrew Luck sweepstakes will be added. How much might a Miami team offer for a quarterback like Palmer if they're not in position to pick up Luck? Carson Palmer would give any of these teams a playoff caliber signal caller who could go through OTA's, learn the offense, and be in a position to make the team a contender in 2012.
Mike Brown's stubbornness has no doubt been evident in the past, and has even cost him and the team (see Chad Ochocinco). This time, however, Brown is perfectly right in his handling of the Carson Palmer situation. In the long run, the Bengals will be better off letting Palmer sit out 2011.
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