What A Waste


I’ve started looking into the actual trade value of Carson Palmer. As pedestrian as some of Carson’s numbers have been lately (i.e. he was 19th in passer rating in 2010), I could see the first offer only being a 3rd round pick. Interest from a couple of teams could net a 2nd. If the Bengals could start a bidding war, then perhaps they would get the 1st round pick that many have assumed would be automatic.

Then I saw reports like this one, that the Bengals remain unchanged in their position that there will be no trade of Palmer. Scratch that project. What’s the point of debating the trade value of a player who will not be traded?

Unless you believe that Carson is bluffing — which I do not — the Bengals have dug their trenches in the worst, most wasteful position possible. What a shameful waste of:

1. The rest of Carson’s career. They Bengals assert that they believe Carson is still one of the elite QBs in the game. While many would debate that, he clearly has some value across the league. If he were a free agent, someone would pick him up and start him. And as long as he didn’t end up in Cleveland, most of us would hope to see him do well. But instead, we will probably never know what might have been.

2. An opportunity to improve the team. An extra pick in the top few rounds is a big deal. Even if Carson only netted a 2nd round pick, that’s an extra player like Carlos Dunlap on your team. But the Bengals prefer spite. Brilliant.

3. An opportunity to establish an identity for the future. A great GM figures out a way to use this situation to bring in the next young franchise QB. A good GM figures out a way to trade something to get a veteran QB to buy time while he looks for his new franchise guy. A competent GM figures out a way to make Carson happy.

Mike Brown does nothing.

4. Potential future free agents. Fans complain that the Bengals do not pursue top free agents. I believe the Bengals actually do pursue them but cannot land them. (If you could have your pick of multiple job offers, would you take the one from the most dysfunctional company on the list? No way, not unless they seriously overpaid, something Mike Brown’s wallet won’t let happen.)

This situation with Carson further entrenches that notion around the league. After watching the Bengals do this to Carson, any free agent coming here and anyone drafted by the Bengals who is entering free agency would be an utter fool to sign a deal for more than 2 years, 3 years tops. Carson made a HUGE mistake tying himself to Mike Brown for 8 years in the prime of his career. No agent worth his salt will ever let his client come anywhere close to repeating it.

5. Fan interest. On the heels of a season that saw multiple local game blackouts — the first in several years — the Bengals have managed to begin the off-season with one colossal gaff after another. The press conference from hell. The reluctance to fire Bratkowski. And now this on-going debacle.

Even ardent fans are having trouble taking this any more. Most of us sympathize with Carson at this point. The incompetence is overwhelming and spirit-breaking at times. I honestly do not expect any home games to sell out this year except Pittsburgh and maybe Cleveland.

It doesn’t have to be like this. But it is. What a waste.