I’ve been tweeting about this subject, so might as well put it in writing. The Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals have been in regular contact regarding a deal that will bring quarterback Carson Palmer to Seattle.
Of course, nothing can be completed because free agency is yet to begin. As the NFL anticipates a ruling on whether the lockout will be ended and we get closer to possibly seeing the league year open, this deal could pick up momentum.
The rules of free agency would likely mimic those we saw in 2010, meaning no cap and an elite-8 rule which severely restricts the ability of the final eight playoff teams to sign free agents. The Seahawks in qualifying for the divisional round will not be able to sign other team’s free agents until they lose their own players.
Should Matt Hasselbeck sign for another team, that would open up the possibiltiy of adding another key player at a different position. This may be why the Seahawks have shown significant interest in Palmer, as there are no restrictions on trades.
I understand initially the Seahawks and Bengals agreed on a first round pick as the price for Palmer during early discussions at the end of the season. This was before the CBA expired and based around this year’s 25th overall pick.
Things changed significantly when the Seahawks approached Cincinnati about getting a ‘better deal’ for a younger quarterback, possibly Philadelphia’s Kevin Kolb. The Bengals stance on trading Palmer also softened when they came to terms with the fact he would not change his mind about retirement. Mike Brown is known for doing things his way and never giving an inch. However, it seems that he might be willing to embrace the need for a fresh start. Palmer will retire if he doesn’t get a trade and Cincinnati will be left empty handed.
Another side issue is the possibility the Bengals block a trade, then draft someone like Blaine Gabbert fourth overall or even a player in round two. Having been prevented a trade, what stops Palmer turning up for training camp and getting paid? The usually thrifty Bengals would be paying two quarterbacks a top tier salary.
The agreed price is now a late round pick, believed to be a 5th rounder. A second conditional pick would be included which could rise to a 3rd rounder depending on performance (eg, Palmer is named to the Pro Bowl or playoff wins).
That’s quite a come down from the originally agreed first round pick. However, it’s not unrealistic when you consider the financial implications for Cincinnati if they block a trade. I understand the bargain price has also been dictated somewhat by Palmer’s insistence on only negotiating with Seattle. He has family in the pacific northwest and intends to move there whether he is granted a trade or not. I also believe the move is already in progress.
Things can change quickly, but Palmer starting as the Seahawks quarterback next year is a very real prospect. He is prepared to renegotiate his contract, stressing quality of life over money.
This doesn’t mean there’s no chance Matt Hasselbeck returns to the team. I was told by the same source that issued information on the draft last week that there remains mutual interest between the two parties in arranging a deal for two more years. However, Palmer is four years younger than Hasselbeck, has history with Pete Carroll and receiver Mike Williams at USC and has outperformed Hasselbeck statistically in recent seasons.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that Palmer or Hasselbeck will start for the Seahawks in 2011 if the season takes place amid litigation chaos. The team has a strong interest in drafting Colin Kaepernick and one other unnamed quarterback. Andy Dalton is the third QB on their board. If they do choose to take a quarterback early on Thursday or Friday, it’ll be a commitment to the younger quarterback potentially taking over the starting role in two years time. That would be a perfect situation for a player like Kaepernick, having worked exclusively out of the pistol offense in Nevada.
The information was discussed in depth on ESPN 710 during the Brock and Salk Show: