Bengals trade QB Palmer to Raiders

Posted Oct. 18, 2011 @ 8:05 p.m.
Posted By PFW staff

Updated Oct. 18, 2011 @ 10:38 p.m. ET

The Bengals traded QB Carson Palmer to the Raiders for a first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013 that could be a first-rounder, according to multiple reports.

Palmer, a two-time Pro Bowler, has not played this season after demanding to be traded. Bengals owner Mike Brown had refused to make a move. Per Glazer, Raiders head coach Hue Jackson has a close relationship with Brown and worked "to get Brown to budge."

The trade deadline was at 4 p.m. ET Tuesday. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Raiders explored trading for Eagles backup QB Vince Young.

Palmer, 31, started all 16 games last season for the 4-12 Bengals. He threw 26 touchdowns and tied a career-high with 20 interceptions. Jackson was the Bengals' wide receivers coach from 2004-2006 and Palmer was a Pro Bowler in '05 and '06.

"Carson helped elevate the franchise here. He played at a very high level for us, and I wish him well with the Raiders," Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis siad. "We obviously have a strong belief in the ability of Andy Dalton to continue playing well and to be the leader of our offense. He has been exceptionally effective for a rookie, and as good as he has been, we know he has tremendous potential to be even better."

Raiders QB Jason Campbell broke his collarbone in Sunday's win over the Browns. He said he could return before the season ends. Kyle Boller replaced Campbell in the game and the Raiders' third-string QB is rookie Terrelle Pryor.

The Bengals are off to a 4-2 start, thanks in part to the play of rookie QB Andy Dalton. Oakland also is 4-2, but now will be forced to make a change at quarterback.

The Raiders are now without draft picks in the first, second, third and fourth rounds in the 2012 draft. They will, however, get compensatory picks after losing CB Nnamdi Asomugha, OG Robert Gallery and TE Zach Miller to free agency. The highest compensatory pick a team can receive is a third-rounder.

"As far as the draft picks, what we have to give up, I never hesitated because I know exactly what I'm getting," Raiders head coach Hue Jackson said on Tuesday afternoon. "I don't think you're ever mortgating the future when you put a big-time franchise quarterback on your team.

"Any player we put on this football team is going to be someone who can help us to our goal, which is winning a championship."

Palmer, who was signed through 2014 with Cincinnati and was reportedly slated to make $11.5 million in base salary this season, agreed to a restructured contract in order to keep the Raiders under the salary cap in ’11. He reportedly had to take a significant pay cut for this season and will then get a significant salary bump back into the range he is accustomed to in 2012 — provided he performs well enough this year for the team to keep him.

 

The way we see it

For the Bengals, this is an out-of-this-world package for Palmer, who had signaled he would never play for Cincinnati again. Brown had repeatedly said the club didn't have any plans to move Palmer, but that apparently changed once the Raiders offered two high-round picks. (Read Mike Wilkening's take on the trade, from a Bengals perspective.)

The Bengals had clearly moved on without Palmer, drafting Dalton in Round Two in April and installing him as the starter. Dalton has played well in six games, and the 4-2 Bengals are just a half-game out of first place entering their bye week. Now, the Bengals are positioned to either surround Dalton with more talent or add to a stout defense with an extra first-round pick next April. Even better for the Bengals, first-round picks are paid significantly less under the new CBA than they were before 2011.

Palmer's decision to walk out on the Bengals in January seemed to put the franchise in a bind. In the end, Cincinnati handled the situation adroitly.

For the Raiders, at 4-2, a division title is certainly in reach with one of the league's best rushing attacks and a physical defensive front. Palmer is certainly an upgrade over Boller, but the big question will be how good is Palmer after so much time off? He struggled last season and hasn't played in a game since Jan. 2. Without a pick until the end of the third round (provided they receive a compensatory selection for losing Nnamdi Asomuga) in next year's draft, this is clearly a "win now" move by Oakland.

 

PFW's fantasy spin

There's no doubt the Raiders came out ahead in trading for Carson Palmer instead of Vince Young. However, the Raiders' gain is the fantasy world's loss. Young would have become an instant fantasy starter because of his rushing ability. Palmer is not the fantasy answer many believe he is.

Palmer has a relationship with head coach Hue Jackson, who was the receivers coach in Cincinnati from 2004-2006, and one would assume that Palmer worked indirectly with him and the receivers. How quickly he can learn the Raiders' playbook is the real issue. Expecting him to come in and immediately produce is unrealistic. First he has to learn the playbook, so in the short term he has no value, but that's not a reason to ignore him on the waiver wire. His perceived value because of name recognition makes him great trade bait.

Depending on your scoring rules, his actual ranking will be slightly different but in typical scoring formats, Palmer over the last four years has ranked as follows among quarterbacks:

2010: 12th

2009: 18th

2008: injured

2007: 9th

He hasn't had fantasy relevance since 2007. Anyone can say it's the team and not Palmer, but that's not true. Palmer is not injury-prone but has had his share of injuries, including elbow issues, resulting in a loss of arm strength that has affected his play the last couple of years. He's not mobile, and though an upgrade over Kyle Boller, he'll be a matchup play as he was his last two seasons as the Bengals' starter.

In looking at the Raiders' schedule, if he becomes the starter after the bye (Week Nine), he'll face the Broncos, Chargers, Vikings and Bears before most fantasy playoffs begin in Week 13. He could make a strong play against the Broncos and Bears, while the Vikings are a middle-of-the-road team.

During the playoff run he'll see the Dolphins, Packers, Lions and Chiefs in Week 16. Contrary to perception, the Dolphins are a middle-of-the-road defense against opposing quarterbacks.  The Packers are improving weekly, and their early-season collapses are becoming a distant memory. The Lions and Chiefs are top-10 defenses against the QB position. This can change, but Palmer doesn't have an easy schedule as many assume.

On the surface, Palmer looks better than what he is. His real value will come in helping to increase the value of the other skill positions more than his own. He makes only a No. 2 fantasy quarterback as the starter, but he's better-suited to be picked up and traded. You could gain greater value in return than the middle-of-the-road fantasy numbers he'll provide.