June 24, 2017

The Chilling Effect

After the second failure of a presser this year by the comedy duo of Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis, I decided to give things a day before posting about it because, frankly, writing about how stupid Mr Brown is just isn’t fun any more. That horse has been beaten beyond the hope of even making glue out of it.

If Carson Palmer didn’t know that yesterday would be the ultimate outcome of his actions, then he is an idiot. We all knew it was coming. For Mike, losing on the field is just business. But losing a contract dispute is personal and will not be tolerated.

What concerns me most about what Mike Brown’s decision on how to handle CP’s ultimatum has nothing to do with CP himself. Most of us have moved on from him and could care less if he plays in 2011 or not, other than what could be gotten by trading him. What I am bothered by is the chilling effect that this hard-line, prison warden approach will have on signing free agents.

For instance, CincyJungle.com reported this morning that the Bengals are interested in Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams. Great move, right? But look at this from Williams’ perspective. “Hey, De! Mike Brown from the Bengals is on the phone. He wants to know if he can own you for the next four years.” With multiple teams calling, how seriously do you think he takes that call?

Under Brown’s stewardship, the Bengals has been the free agent equivalent of a resort town in Siberia. Players who talk to him are generally the ones with no other options. The new CBA will help that some by forcing him to spend most of his cap money. But no quality free agent is going to sign more than a one or maybe two year deal. If you are going to rent your soul to the devil, you want to rent it for as short of a time as possible. (see also: Mathis, Evan.)

And how much more difficult has he made it to re-sign the young guys we are excited about: Atkins, Dunlap, Gresham, Shipley, and if he performs as advertised, AJ Green? After Chad and CP, nobody, and I mean nobody, is going to sign a long-term contract extension with Mike Brown ever again.

Congratulations, Mike Brown. Once again you have won the battle and lost the war.


  1. Tony Fiorda says:

    So it’s all Mike Brown’s fault? Two people signed that contract, Mike Brown AND Carson Palmer. CP said he’d play for XXX million dollars a year for X years. Not at X-2 or 3, CP wants to be traded or he’ll threaten to retire, try that with your boss. Boss, I no longer want to work here but I have this employment contract that says I promise to work here for 6 years. After 4 years, I hate this place and you and I want to transfer my contract to another company or I’ll retire. Where do you think you’ll be?

    Yes MB deserves a lot of the trash talk he gets, but a contract IS a business deal. You promise to do something for a period of time, you live up to your promise that you’ll do it for that amount of time. Try that with a military enlistment contract. Try that with a car loan. Try that with a home loan…oh wait a lot of folks who bought too much house are doing that…not a good example. But you get my drift.

    CP has thrown the guantlet down by issuing the ultimatum. MB is just saying live up to your contract or do what you’ve threatened. As a business owner, I’d do the same thing as MB in this case. It’s MB business, team, and most importantly money. He is willing to live up to his part of the contract, why not CP. Look at the history of the Bengals when they’ve signed big names to various positions to have them get injured and they continue to pay the contracts even when the player has said he’s gone.

    I’m on MB side THIS time. He doesn’t deserve the flak you’re giving him in this case!

  2. I could buy that argument if contracts were guaranteed by the owners. They’re not. As I said in my earlier post, I think both parties deserve some blame. I was just disappointed with how the press conference was handled. It won’t help the Palmer situation or anyone else’s.

    • Contracts aren’t guaranteed, but signing bonuses are. Palmer got a fat one for his signing his commitment to play out the contract.

  3. Tony, I am not trying to pin all the blame for this situation on Mike Brown. Carson is being as childish as Mike is stubborn. I don’t respect this “I’m taking my ball and going home” attitude, which is why I really don’t feel bad for Carson or care if he plays next year.

    Look again at your hypothetical. Four years into your six year contract, things aren’t working and your want to get out of the deal, but the boss says no. What kind of employee are you going to be for the last years? Are you going really put in 100% effort? Is your boss going to get your best work for the next two years? Why would you, especially if he is making your job harder than it should be? You would both be better off if he let you go to an indirect competitor and then hired another guy who will give the job his best effort.

    MB gets my flak because he is supposed to be protective of the best interests of this team. But he isn’t. He is making it harder for the Bengals to land other top free agents, because they won’t want to end up as frustrated and unhappy as Chad and CP. Was Philly weak when they let T.O. go? No, because it was better for the team in the long run to let him leave than to force him to stay. If you can explain how the Bengals are better off with Carson “retired” than trading him, I’ll let MB off the hook.

  4. Tony Fiorda says:

    Bill, I understand your point. However, if I have a poor performer, am I not better off moving him to the bench and put a program together in an effort to turn him around? That’s what is done in large corporations with employees that have been good but for some reason or another have performed or acted poorly recently That’s what a good manager does, you don’t trade your problems. If your differences are irreconcilable, there are other avenues to take. The least of which is let your poor performer get turned around a competitor.

    In the case of Palmer, the Bengals are better off letting him retire. The trouble is out of the club house, he’s not in a position to hurt the club on the field, and he has the rep of a trouble maker and quitter. Not labels that I’d want stuck to me. Getting another player for CP is no guarantee that they’ll perform to the level of CP’s past or even surpass him. Besides, with CP in retirement, MB is free to hire that “other guy who will give the job his best efffort.”

    Just a quick not on Chad and T.O. – did they help the team in short term? In my opinion, neither did. When the chips were down and a catch needed to be made, was there a completion? In most cases not. I do blame MB for allowing those players to poison the lockerroom.

    Who’s hurt here? Everyone, players, team, fans. A rookie last year had a minimum salary of $325,000.00. As tough as it is playing in the NFL, if they have any intelligence, players can set themselves up, even at that level, to have a better life than most working folks who end up paying their salary. And that’s either directly through ticket sales or any other way the $9Billion is divided up. That’s a problem I’d like to have.! 🙂 Do I feel sorry for either the players or the owners, not on your life. I just wish they’d all shut up and think about the people who watch there games.

    In any case, that’s my soap box, now I’ll get off of it long enough to have my once a week practice in pads! Gosh, it’s a tough job…

  5. Tony, I guess you and I just see this totally differently. If I’m the boss and one of my guys comes to me and says “I hate it here and I want out,” I don’t try to hug it out. If he is to the level of issuing ultimatums, I get him out of there, because I figure he is going to end up undermining me, whether through simple negligence or outright sabotage.

    Above I said “indirect competitor” because the Bengals could easily have traded him to San Fran or Seattle. Yes, the Bengals play both of those teams this year, and maybe he is still starting when you play them again in four years. (It’s not like they would trade him to Cleveland so they face him twice a year.) That’s a small price to pay for an extra 2nd round pick, which is what I would expect to get for him. Instead, they get nothing but the satisfaction of forcing a guy they “like” out of his chosen occupation.

    If I’m a free agent and I’ve watched Mike Brown squash Chad and CP, I don’t even take a call from the Bengals. Unless I have zero other options. And that is what ticks me off about what Mike has done.

  6. If Carson Palmer doesn’t want to be here, then I don’t want him here. I hate how some people think we should placate Palmer enough to make him decide to play again. Screw that. It sets a horrible precedent and I don’t want a half-hearted quarterback leading the team.

    Palmer needs to stay gone, but Brown is failing the team by not exploring the value that can be obtained by giving him his wish.

  7. I don’t like Mike Brown because he’s cheap, and makes horrible decisions for the future of the Bengals. That being said…..Carson Palmer signed the contract……the contract was good enough for him to sign it a long time ago. If he did not like the contract, he should have thought about this a long time ago, and made sure there was some clause that allowed him an out after x amount of years. This should have been handled in a back room and never gone public. Carson should have been able to go to Mike, and say “Hey, I’m not feeling it here in Cinci anymore. I’d like to leave”, and Mike should have replied “Yah, you’ve not been doing so hot for our team, lets see if we can get a trade going”…..that conversation could have been done in private, and never went public. It would have just looked like Mike was making a smart decision to get rid of Palmer when he is performing poorly……Win-Win. But, through both of their stupidity, we are left with this mess.

  8. “Win-win” is obviously not a concept that the NFL owner with the fastest pace to 200 losses is familiar with. Now, lose-lose is something he knows all about.


  1. […] Wednesday, I posited this theory: the way Mike Brown handles contract disputes — with Carson Palmer […]