I don’t believe that Carson Palmer is bluffing in his demand to get traded out of Cincinnati.
I can see that Palmer has grown tired of the losing environment. He has never been an outspoken individual, but now that he has spoken, it would be wise for the Bengals to listen. It’s clear they will lose Palmer one way or the other, so the right move is to be proactive in dealing with the situation.
The Bengals own Palmer’s rights and until the labor situation is settled, trades won’t be in play. But at the end of the day, the Bengals won’t be able to force Palmer to have the passion to go out and play hard to help them win games. If a player’s heart isn’t in it — especially at quarterback — it’s a detriment to the entire team. The quarterback is the one who all the young players look to. If your quarterback doesn’t want to be there, are you going to put him in the huddle with young players like Jermaine Gresham, Jordan Shipley, Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson?
The Bengals need to be proactive in realizing there has to be an alternative. The sooner they move Palmer, the better.
I see Eagles backup QB Kevin Kolb as a very viable option for the Bengals. New Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden knows Eagles coach Andy Reid well and should be running a similar offensive system.
The Bengals hold the No. 4 overall pick in the draft, and no quarterback they get there will be as good as Kolb is right now. Kolb has NFL experience, has read defenses, is ready to lead and has been groomed by Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. It would be a smart move by the Bengals to give up the No. 4 pick for Kolb and the Eagles’ pick at No. 23. Then they could trade Palmer to a team like Seattle, who owns the 25th overall pick.
In that scenario, the Bengals would have Kolb, plus the No. 23 and 25 picks, and have improved their fortunes with a young quarterback who is ready to launch.
The Bengals need to recognize who Palmer is, and that he wouldn’t make a trade demand if he didn’t mean it. If he’s outspoken about an issue, know that he’s thought about it long and hard. This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction on his part. He’s frustrated and ready to move on, and it would be wise for the Bengals to explore their options sooner rather than later while the value is at its highest.
Palmer is too bright and too much of an honorable person to completely burn the bridge with the Bengals, but he just wants to cross it and never go back again. He has turned the page and is ready to move on.
The Bengals should do the same.
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