I feel like we have been a little remiss in covering the whole NFL lockout fiasco over the last ten weeks or so. This is mostly because I don’t really care about millionaires trying to get more millions fighting billionaires trying to make more billions. Now that the lockout has ended, we can get back to the business of reporting and editorializing on the happenings of the NFL. Yesterday we gave our opinion on the horrible new Brett Favre rumors (go away please!!). Yesterday, the big news I saw was that Carson Palmer, who has been requesting a trade at least since the end of last season, is set to retire rather than play for the Cincinnati Bengals this year. I suggest Carson look in the mirror, then at his stat sheet, realize he’s being a baby bitch and lace up his cleats to play in 2011.
For those of you who don’t follow the sport, here’s a little background on Palmer. The Fresno, CA native attended and starred at USC (probably cuz they paid him a lot of money). He played so well there, in fact, that the Bengals made him the 1st overall pick in the 2003 draft. He didn’t play that year, but took over the starting job in 2004, when he led the Bengals to an 8-8 record. The next season, Palmer seemed to fulfill his vast promise, leading the Bengals to their first playoff appearance in fifteen years (a first round loss to the Steelers). Two more mediocre seasons followed before Palmer blew his knee out four games into the 2008 season (he was 0-4). In 2009 he came back strong, leading the Bengals to another division title, and another first round loss (thanks Rex Ryan and the Jets). Despite the hype going into 2010, the wheels fell off completely for the Bengals, who finished 4-12, which was good for last place in the division.
Overall, Palmer has a 48-52 record as the Bengals starting QB, and has sprinkled in only two seasons with a better than .500 record among a career full of mediocre results. You can’t blame all of that on him, as he has often been the only talented player on the roster, but he’s still the QB, which ultimately makes him responsible for winning and losing. His individual statistics show that, when healthy, he could be a top ten QB in the league. He once led the league in TD passes (has also led the league in INT) and has topped 4,000 yards a couple of times, but he’s no Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.
My point with all of this is that Carson Palmer is not good enough to threaten to retire if he’s not traded. The one guy that stands out in my mind that retired because his team wouldn’t trade him is Barry Sanders. Barry Sanders is one of the best running backs in NFL history. Had he stuck around, he might be the all-time leading rusher in the NFL. Barry also put up with an entire career of losing with the Lions. I don’t think anyone should back out on a contract just because they don’t like the team’s won/loss record, but if anyone can, it’s a Hall of Famer. There is no argument worth listening to that would convince me that Carson Palmer is a Hall of Fame quarterback. It’s kind of ridiculous for Palmer to put himself in the same conversation as Barry Sanders (although probably not on purpose). Therefore, he’s not worthy of making trade demands.
Furthermore, Carson Palmer is 31 years old, which puts him right in the middle of his prime. As a competitor, why would you retire over a contract/trade squabble in your absolute prime? Sanders retired from the Lions at 30, but that’s the age where it is said most running backs start losing the spring in their steps. You can be a very effective NFL quarterback well into your late 30s. Palmer could have another six or seven years of football left in him. That’s three or four more years after his current Bengals deal runs out in 2014. If he really wants to, he could play out his Bengals career and have a few years afterwords to find himself a winning team to get his ring on. Or, he could (gasp!) honor his contract and try to build a winner in Cincinnati.
It does take two to tango (and make stupid decisions) sometimes. On the flip side of things, if you’re the Bengals, you’re really going to let a top ten quarterback in the prime of his career just walk away and retire? Teams spend years trying to find franchise quarterbacks. Before Palmer, the Bengals’ last good QB was Jeff Blake in the late 90s, and their last great QB was Boomer Esiason. They really should try to build a winner with Palmer. He has the talent to lead them to the playoffs with the right team around him. Secondly, if your top ten franchise type QB refuses to play, you can probably trade him for a lot. As I said before, teams spend years looking for QBs. There are multiple teams that would give an arm and a leg for Carson Palmer. Why not give Palmer what he wants and get a first round pick or two in return? You could use that to possibly draft another QB. Or, you could trade for Kevin Kolb of the Eagles and use whatever picks you get for Palmer to build a winner for Kolb. Why waste Palmer’s talent and trade value? Not trading Palmer is almost as dumb as Palmer retiring if he’s not traded!
I feel like everyone needs to settle down, put down the pacifier and do what’s right for Palmer, for the Bengals and, most importantly (I would think) the Cincinnati fans. Does ownership really think they’ll escape the ire of the Bengal faithful by sticking to their guns and letting Palmer walk away? Sure, Palmer is turning his back on the team, but the owner and general managers are the assholes letting him walk away for free! Believe me, there’s plenty of ire in Cincinnati to go around for both Palmer and the ownership if this situation ends up with Carson Palmer sitting on his couch for the next seven years. So come on baby bitches, get over it and move on.
image courtesy of: Nate Parsons/Morning Journal
Ochicinco image courtesy of: Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press
Brown image courtesy of: Mike Simmons/Asscociated Press
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