The latest rumors circulating in Seattle are that the Bengals, and specifically their owner Mike Brown, have conceded that Carson Palmer will in fact retire and they have changed their minds about trading him. They don't want to receive nothing in return for him so are now offering their franchise QB for a 5th round pick and a conditional (possibly 3rd rounder) in return. These rumors have been going around for a while; Adam Wright of Twitter's Seahawk Talk has a source that stated a few months ago that the Seahawks were actively trying to trade for Carson Palmer and that they had even appraised Matt Hasselbeck to the situation. Lately though, these rumors have been validated by mulitple other sources, particularly a separate source for Rob Staton over at Seahawks Draft Blog has now stated what I said above about a deal in principle already in place for the disgruntled Bengals QB. Brandon Adams over at 17Power had a really good summation of the implications so go check that out, but I wanted to give my take as well.
This really is huge news if it turns out to be true. It will change the landscape of the Seahawks for the next 3-5 years and will allow the Hawks ample time to groom a young quarterback while still focusing on winning now. To me, putting a piece like Carson Palmer in place would be a huge step to solidify Pete Carroll and John Schneider's foundation in Seattle. It gives them a chance to compete in the NFC West in the short term and then build a team through the draft in the next 3-4 years. The NFL is a fickle beast - ideally you'd like to see JS and PC get at least 5 years to build something but the truth is that sometimes teams don't give a front office enough time to do so. How many of you expected Jim Mora to be fired after only one season? Things are looking up in terms of the Hawks' young talent, but if things go way south on the road to finding that franchise QB and the Hawks become cellar dwellers for a year or two, ownership can get impatient.
I heard a stat somewhere that stated a good starting QB makes everyone around him 40% better. (I have also heard that 89.3% of statistics are made up on the spot). Regardless though, to me, it passes the sniff test in the fact that an effective QB makes the line look better by getting the ball out if his hands in time. He makes the receivers look better by putting the ball in their hands. He makes the running game look better by making the defense respect the deep throw. It goes on down the line. I'm in the camp that believes Palmer has a lot left in the tank - it's a matter of opinion but after watching 5-6 of his games from 2010 recently, I am sold on his abilities. He's a veteran player that can command the huddle, read defenses with the best of them, and run whatever offense Pete and Darrell Bevell want to run in 2011. If he comes at as cheap of a price they're reporting he's being offered for, to me it's highway robbery and I'll be doing a jig in my living room upon hearing the news.
Call him a stop gap or bridge if you want - to me it's semantics. We'd be getting a player that could act as a catalyst to resurrect this franchise by buying Schneider and Carroll time to do their thing. I believe in our front office's methodology and talent evaluation and think with time the Hawks could assemble something great in the mold of Green Bay's past 5 or 6 years. Carson Palmer might not take the Hawks to the Super Bowl. But I really do believe that he would help to put them in contention for the NFC West title in year one. The Rams are young and building. The Niners are talented but rudderless at the QB position. Arizona was feeble without Kurt Warner running the show. I'm speaking in pie-in-the-sky terms but in a quarterback driven league, we're lucky to be in a division that has only one true franchise QB and he's a sophomore with a new offensive coordinator and a dearth of talent at wide receiver.
Carson Palmer, in the right situation, has the make-up and ability to be a pro-bowl quarterback and really, what more could you ask for? He's not all-world, but he's a proven commodity that has been a part of a organization that consistently has marquee players wanting out. Think about how much a change of scenery out of that type of poisonous atmosphere could do for a player's mindset and motivation.
That's my two cents on the matter. Let's see what happens!