August 16, 2017

Curtain Call for Carson?

There are 3 prevailing options for what to do about Carson Palmer: 1) play hardball and force him to retire, 2) make him happy enough to play another year in Cincinnati, or 3) trade him as soon as it is possible to do so. Which option suits you best?

If you prefer to force him into retirement, I feel bad for you. You are living with an unhealthy amount of spite. This is a man’s livelihood you want to end. Unless Carson came to your house and kicked your pet, this level of anger is unhealthy. A few sessions with a counselor would be time well spent.

(If you need another reason to reconsider your position, keep in mind that you are actually endorsing Mike Brown’s current course of action. Uttering the words “You go, Mike Brown!” ought to be enough to scare you straight.)

Now that we have two reasonable options left, let’s plot a course forward.

If you want to see Carson come back for one more year to take a farewell tour as well as tutor Andy Dalton, I understand where you are coming from. You want to win in 2011, and you figure Carson wins more than anyone else. But I absolutely disagree with you. Here is an inductive explanation of why.

First, Tank Johnson gave a radio interview explaining what happened to take the 2010 Bengals from SuperBowl hopefuls to huge underachievers. His main answer was team chemistry. He didn’t blame Chad and T.O. for taking the T.Ocho gig, but he did say their larger-than-life personae effected others in the locker room. Chad stayed low in 2009 after a bad 2008. Bringing Chad back to full strength, then adding T.O. on top of it, was a concoction that some were not ready to handle.

Now, go back to Cedric Benson’s comment that bringing Carson back in now, after everything that has happened since the end of the season, would “be detrimental to the team.” Carson isn’t a media diva, but the problem he has caused by saying he will never play in Cincinnati again is even bigger. Just taking him back after that isn’t so simple. Guys like Cedric know it.

Picture this. A guy you work with gets hacked about something in the company and makes a Jerry McGuire sized scene as he steals a company goldfish and spouts off about how he will never work for your company again. But then a few months later he shows up back in uniform, working with you again. You respect that guy? Me neither.

How does Carson lead the Bengals after what he’s done? Short answer, he can’t. He can talk to the team and explain his side, maybe even apologize. He could probably get square with some of the team, but not everybody. Respect is an expensive commodity, and it is not repaired quickly or easily.

Bottom line, the Bengals need to trade Carson for whatever they can get for him. If the T.Ocho show sent the Bengals careening in 2010, Mr. “I Quit” could easily have the same effect. It is better to remove the distractions, even if it extends the learning curve, and let the team gel. Giving Carson a curtain call is more bad chemistry.


  1. To me, this one is more about Andy Dalton and the future than Carson Palmer. My fear is that Dalton will get forced into action too quickly if Carson isn’t around. Thus, I’d like to see Carson back for one more year to prevent irreparable damage in Dalton’s first year. A quarterback’s psyche and confidence are delicate things. The team needs to be careful with Dalton, especially considering he’s coming from TCU, where he wasn’t playing against top-flight competition on a regular basis.

  2. Personally I think they need to try and trade CP for something while there is possibly a market for him. From what I’ve read maybe SanFran, Seattle, Minn, Ariz (only Seattle and Arizona not drafting a QB this year). I think one of those teams would be willing to part with a semi high draft pick for a starter who in the past, has proved he can play at a pro bowl level. But with MB in charge it seems the chance of this happening are slim. It would be a shame to see CP retire without getting anything in return. I don’t think they could bring him back though, based on comments of some of the players have made. I always liked CP but the past couple of years it just looked like he didn’t play with any passion or fire. He looked like he was going through the motions at times. Although we’ve seen several rookie QB’s start and have success over the past couple of years, I don’t know if Dalton is that guy, especially with the talent around him. Best to leave it an open competition between the QB’s we have for the strat of the season. And cut JP just to spite CP.

    • I agree with you 100%, Lee. Take what you can get while you can get something of value. This whole If-I-Let-Carson-Go-Then-Others-Will-Do-The-Same-Thing mindset that Mike Brown has is too smart by half. Other teams move troublemaker players, and they don’t get copycats. Even despite MB, most Bengals players want to be here because they are loyal to each other.

      Imagine this scenario: the Bengals trade CP to SanFran. Carson gets SF going again, while the Bengals use that pick to solidify their OL. Both teams blossom, and the two meet in SuperBowl XLVIII, where the Bengals exact revenge on SF with a 17 point blowout win.

      A fella can dream, right?