Sorry for my absence, but in my defense, a vacation in Prague and Amsterdam takes precedent over writing. Now that I am back and broke, however, I shall make my time useful (?) by fulfilling my duties in this blog.
As PFT posted today, it seems unlikely that the Bengals will trade Carson Palmer anytime soon. This is not unreasonable from the team’s perspective, since Palmer still does have several years on his contract. From my perspective, however, the Bengals should trade Carson Palmer during or after the draft, and the most important reason is his value.
Palmer has stated unequivocally that he will not be back in a Bengals uniform this year. If he is not traded, then the Bengals can simply hold on to him. If Palmer retires, then the Bengals still hold the rights to his contract if he ever does return, and will only lose them if they decide to waive those rights. The team is right in that they do have the upper-hand with regards to him playing anywhere else, but Palmer may have the better hand in that he simply wants to play elsewhere, and is willing to give up the money and football to do so.
The basic fact is that if Palmer does not play or if he retires, his value will go down with time. Currently, he can be considered not a great, but certainly a good quarterback. While his QB rating of 82.4 and 20 picks leaves something to be desired, his 61.8 completion %, 26 TDs, and 3,970 yards in 2011 shows that he can still play at a very high level, and in a new system I believe his QB rating could rise and his number of interceptions could go down.
What the Bengals must keep in mind is that Palmer is 31, however. His value is not rising with each year, but falling. In addition, this is a very good year to trade Palmer, with anywhere between 6-10 teams looking for a QB, including the Panthers, Bills, Seahawks, Dolphins, 49ers, Cardinals, and Vikings (among others). The Bengals could get some good draft picks in this year’s draft, but could do just as well (or better) after the draft, with teams desperate for a QB looking at Palmer (especially if Kolb seems out of reach). If the Bengals hold on to Palmer, there is no guarantee that the QB market will be any better for them next year, nor is there any guarantee that any team will offer a trade as good as any they could get in the next couple of months.
I appreciate that it sets a bad precedent if the Bengals give in to Palmer, with other players simply using the same threat to get out of Cincinnati, a town not known for its well-run football teams. Palmer will lose value every year, however, and seems intent on not playing in Cincinnati ever again, so much so that he is willing to not play football at all, which makes him quite different from most players in the NFL. Because of this and the inevitable depreciation in his value over time, the Bengals should move on, get themselves a new QB, and squeeze as much value out of a trade for Palmer as possible.