Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why the Carson Palmer Trade Isn't Dead Yet

The long-percolating rumors of Carson Palmer's impending trade to Seattle seem to be growing fainter with each passing day of this (very young) offseason. Bengals owner Mike Brown recently went on record saying that they had no intention of "rewarding", with a trade, Palmer's decision to walk away from the team.

Makes sense. As much as the dots connect, I've found it hard to stay optimistic about the likelihood of this trade based on our knowledge of the notoriously stubborn Brown. It's not really even that pigheaded for Brown to reject Seattle's offer of a conditional third-round pick, which, in draft terms, isn't that big a haul for a franchise QB.

But based on a couple of cryptic tweets from Pete Carroll (here and here), the optimistic fan could conclude that the QB hunt isn't over yet.

I certainly hope not. Tarvaris Jackson makes for quite the anticlimax.

To be technical, the Palmer trade saga doesn't end until he files retirement papers with Cincinnati. That hasn't happened. So where do we stand? Was Brown's presser a call of Palmer's bluff? And is Palmer bluffing?

Until the Bengals QB officially retires, he and the Seahawks still have bullets in their gun. Palmer can show up to compete at a training camp that will now also feature former Raider Bruce Gradkowski. That'd be an expensive and distracting logjam for Brown to contend with. Could force a trade. Brown is truly a blockhead, but he's never had to deal with a player with Palmer's amount of leverage before.

Seattle, for their part, could up their offer; a conditional second-round draft pick and an extra fifth-rounder (or a player in trade, which is a rumor I've seen) in 2012 would be a pill I'm willing to swallow. It wouldn't be surprising if Brown had decided at the 11th hour to demand something along those lines.

The media silence on this issue isn't necessarily an indication of its unlikelihood. It could be that the Seahawks are waiting to finalize another offer until they give Palmer a physical, which can't happen until Friday. If that were true, both teams would naturally be staying quiet in their attempt to stare the other down.

Or it might all be a load of bunk and Mike Brown really is that arrogant. I don't know. But why, then, hasn't Palmer officially filed his walking papers? With Vince Young far more likely to end up in Philadelphia and Kyle Orton in Miami, the only real remaining QB option out there that Carroll could be hinting seems to be Palmer. The theory still fits the facts. And I don't quite believe that a potentially top-flight receiver like Sidney Rice was signed to catch passes from Tarvaris Jackson.

So I'm not going back to the drawing board just yet. But although the rumor isn't quite dead, I think we can consider it on life support.


  1. Are you excited for a potential Carson Palmer trade? I truly believe that if we think we have no shot at winning a superbowl, then this the year to finish last and get Andrew Luck or Matt Barley. Being a realistic Seahawk Fanatic, I'd rather tank the season and set ourselves up for 10-15 years with a franchise QB. One this franchise has never had.

  2. I don't want to finish 8-8 or 7-9 for the next 4 years.

  3. Totally agree. We can be mediocre for 4 or 5 years or have 10 to 15 years of excellence like the Colts and Patriots.

  4. It really is that simple. Look at all the top teams in the league, Colts, Patriots, Packers, etc. They all have one thing in common. Elite franchise QB's. They're defenses are all different, but each has an amazing QB.

  5. No, it really isn't that simple. Some considerations:

    1) Tanking is not predictable -- being bad isn't enough, you have to be really bad. Imagine going 3-13 and missing out to teams going 2-14 which is the typical worst record.

    2) Losing is unpleasant for fans, bad for business, and is at least as likely to create a culture of losing, depress the ability to recruit, etc. than it is to set the stage for a rebound through a savoir QB.

    3) Only 50% of the Superbowl winners since 1995 won with a QB they drafted in rounds 1-2 (much less number 1 picks). Other teams acquired winning QBs in later rounds or through FA/trade. Source:

    4) QB is the likeliest position to bust and trickiest to evaluate.

    5) While QB is by far the most important position the correlation of good QBs to draft position is much smaller than you would think:

    6) Players drafted higher get paid a lot more so that mitigates ROI even more (though new CBA does limit risk of rookie contracts more).

    This is all to say let's build for the long term sure, not over invest in this year, but play to win at all times. Tanking sucks.

  6. Here's a list of the current 2011 starting QB's in the NFL whose teams are competitive:

    Competitive 1st Round QBs:
    Petyon Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Rothlisburger, Matt Ryan, Joe Flaco, Phillip Rivers, Eli Manning, Michael Vick, Jay Cutler.

    Competitive QBs Rounds 2-7, Undrafted:
    Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Matt Scaub, Matt Hasselbeck (He's Old, no longer elite, but gets honorable mention).

    On the Rise:
    Mark Sanchez, Josh Freeman, Mathew Stafford, Sam Bradford.

    Wait and See 1st Round QBs:
    Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blain Gabbert, Christian Ponder

    (I'm sure I forgot somebody)

    See a pattern here? Not including Hasselbeck in 2011, only 4 QB's were not drafted in Round 1 whose teams may have a decent shot at the playoffs and Super Bowl. I'm not saying we should tank the season, but anyone who thinks we are going to win a Superbowl is kidding themselves. The two worst divisions in the league NFC West and AFC West only have 1 elite quarterback between them, Phillip Rivers. The league and passing rules have changed dramatically. Your past stats are worthless in today's NFL. The last 3 Superbowl winners did not have elite defenses, they had good defenses. They all had elite quarterbacks.

    I like that the Seahawks have not reached yet for a starting quarterback and are bidding their time until the right guy comes along, probably next years draft is when Pete and John will have to make a move.

  7. When I heard the presser from Brown the other day, I just could not shake the pure senselessness of it. The fact that the media announced it as Carson's retirement was also confusing. He has filed no papers.

    Then soon after Brown's idiot presser, Tarvaris was announced. That seemed like odd timing, and I certainly don't think Seattle had any serious competition for his services. Then the faux signing of Leinart was put out there, and that seemed to be the final nail for Palmer to Seattle.
    Then I listened closer. Palmer has not retired in any legal manner, no papers have been filed or submitted. Brown says he is drawing a line in the sand, but actually seems to be telling teams That they have to blow him away if they want Palmer. But if it is true that Palmer is intent on playing for Seattle only, Brown is over a barrel.

    Later that same day, I heard a close personal friend of Carrol's, Pat Kirwan, say that Seattle was not done with the Quarterback position, and Pete is not afraid to wait "somebody" out. He said he has a little birdy in the NW that told him Seattle was still pursuing a big name. Cryptic yes, but this whole Palmer thing has been cryptic. A day later, he said Palmer was going to be meeting with Brown this week. So, I guess the only thing to say is this, "WHO THE HELL KNOWS!"

  8. I cannot and will not ever endorse the idea of tanking a season for the sake of a top QB. As Rob Staton would say, it's almost as hard to earn the #1 spot in the draft as it is a trip to the Super Bowl. A lot of things have to go your way. All you have to do is wind up drafting #2, and the top QB goes at #1 and you're left with nothing to show for a horrible season.

    And yes, that #1 spot is what needs to happen to ENSURE a top QB. There is no guarantee that Luck and Barkley will both be there. There's every likelihood that Barkley will stay in school in 2012. And by the time the draft arrives, Luck may be run over by a truck, struck with laryngitis, possessed by a sudden desire to spend his life building wells in Africa, or abducted by aliens for all we know. There is no way a smart football franchise will risk a losing season, and the loss of revenue that goes with it, for such a risky unknown. No way.

  9. Brandon, you're assuming we have a chance this season. With Tavaris Jackson? There's a reason why Minnesota didn't resign him. NFL teams don't let franchise QB's get away. If they do, then there should be red flags.

    I can say objectively, we have no shot to win the Superbowl. Fanatically, I hope we go all the way. There is absolutely no reason to be excited about Tarvaris Jackson or Charlie Whitehurst. It's like trying to win the lottery. It'd be amazing, but the chances are miniscule.

  10. I don't think I ever said we have a shot at the Super Bowl this season. Or the playoffs. Because with every team in this division EXCEPT us improving their QB stables, we probably don't.

    I just don't like the idea of losing as many games as possible to net a top pick, either. Just play each game the best you can.

  11. And since the Bengals are going 0-16, Luck seems unlikely anyway. Being the worst team in the league is nearly as difficult as being the best.