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.