One of the biggest questions of the 2011 NFL offseason is whether or not the Cincinnati Bengals will trade quarterback Carson Palmer. While we all know nothing will happen until the league hammers out a new collective bargaining agreement, we’re going to assume that something will get done at some point.
Palmer has said that if the Bengals don’t move him he may decide to retire. Clearly the relationship with the only NFL team Palmer has ever known has become very damaged. So would it be in Cincinnati’s best interest to get what they can for him now? You’d have to think so. But the Bengals certainly won’t give him up cheaply.
Remember that last offseason the Washington Redskins sent a second and a fourth-round pick to get Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles. McNabb was 33 at the time, while Palmer is currently 31.
Palmer and McNabb’s stats are comparable considering their two-year age difference. So with no ready-made backup you’d have to assume the Bengals will ask for more in return than the Eagles did.
Two former Bengals who are now broadcasters apparently have some inside info on what the team will ask for. Boomer Esiason and Solomon Wilcots both claim it will take both a first-round pick and a mid-round pick to get a deal done.
Additionally, Wilcots puts the likelihood of a Palmer trade at 50-50.
With an extra first rounder the Bengals would likely be able to select a quarterback (if they deemed one worthy of such a pick) and still address some of their other major needs.
As for what teams would be interested in Palmer, there are a ton of quarterback-needy squads out there. The San Francisco 49ers would obviously jump to the top of the list, as do the Arizona Cardinals. With Vince Young on the way out, the Tennessee Titans are likely to be interested as well. And don’t count out the Seattle Seahawks. Palmer and Pete Carroll have always had a close relationship and Palmer’s favorite receiver from his final season at USC – Mike Williams – just had a huge comeback season.
While the Seahawks have said their top priority is bringing back Matt Hasselbeck, a younger franchise-type quarterback would have to be more appealing if the price is right.