Why Mike Brown won’t prevent Palmer trade

The Bengals want no drama to start the Andy Dalton era

Everyone knows Mike Brown is a very determined individual who won’t back down lightly. We’ve seen that many times during his ownership of the Cincinnati Bengals. 

John Clayton dismissed a report on this blog that Carson Palmer was an option for the Seahawks on the Brock and Salk show. Yesterday during a further appearance on ESPN 710, he reiterated his view

“No way Carson Palmer is available this year. Mike (Brown) is as stubborn a guy as there can be.” 

It’s not an illogical point to make and on the sheer face value aspect of any potential trade, you’d have to side with Clayton. Michael Lombardi certainly does if his comments on the NFL Network are anything to go by. Yet it’s also a major presumption based on nothing other than form. Sometimes that’s enough to be proven right. It’s almost certainly not enough to completely avoid being proven wrong. 

This is what I wrote on the situation originally – article one, article two

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen is one of the few national journalists who has been willing to consider anything other than a forced retirement: 

Bengals owner and president Mike Brown has said he will not trade Palmer, but sources say he may consider it if the team secures a quarterback and gets a favorable trade offer. 

Here are the key issues that need to be considered and this is what I believe to be the truth according to trusted sources: 

– Carson Palmer is moving to the west for family reasons whatever happens. He’s already initiating that move and will do so as a Seattle Seahawk or as a retired Cincinnati Bengal. Before the CBA expired both teams held talks and put the framework for a deal in place, but it could not be completed because the trade deadline never re-opened and the lockout began. The player is willing to re-negotiate his huge contract because money is of little relevance at this stage in his career. He’s willing to take less than Hasselbeck’s team were demanding before the lockout.

– Palmer wasn’t the only option at the time. Once the Bengals had accepted Palmer would no longer play for the team and with the decision made to pursue a new direction, they agreed to a revised and cheaper deal. 

– Cincinnati’s draft plans went according to plan in the first two rounds, getting AJ Green at #4 and then taking the quarterback they wanted in round two. It couldn’t have gone any better for that organisation because they wanted a fresh start at quarterback and at receiver. They will move on at both positions, with as little drama as possible and with Andy Dalton the starting quarterback. 

– The way to avoid drama is not to prevent Carson Palmer being traded to a team who will only be relevant to the Bengals in one meeting during the 2011 season. From a financial perspective, for the sake of their rookie quarterback and the mood among the roster whenever training camp does begin, they need to move on. By making the trade, they can do so on their terms. The potential tornado impact of a disgruntled Palmer turning up at camp isn’t worth contemplating for Cincinnati even if it would probably never get that far. 

Situations can change and I’m not going to claim the trade is a lock or that the compensation of a 5th rounder and a conditional pick is set in stone. Even so, the information above is what I understand to be truth. 

Is it the only option for the Seahawks? Personally, I think the time for Kevin Kolb has probably passed. When the #25 pick was in play, a deal made sense. It’s the area in which Kolb was originally drafted (36th overall, 2007) and would’ve afforded Philadelphia first round compensation which would’ve been difficult to turn down. The Seahawks receive a starting quarterback with NFL experience and don’t lose any stock for next year. 

The 2011 draft has been completed and the chance for that deal was lost. Because of that the situation has surely changed completely? 

If you’re the Seahawks, do you really trade unspecified 2012 picks for a 27-year-old quarterback? That would be a very dangerous move by this front office and one that would define the Pete Carroll era in Seattle. First of all you’d have to sign him to a new blockbuster contract. After all, this is your franchise quarterback. That would just add to the intense pressure on Kolb to have an immediate impact to justify the trade and salary. 

If he succeeds and the Seahawks are once again picking in the 20’s, the gamble paid off in a big way. However, should Kolb struggle on an offense not containing DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy, it would end up looking like a huge mistake. When you trade unknown picks there’s every chance it’ll be #1 overall rather than #25. Would you be satisfied losing a potential top five pick and a huge contract on a player who essentially bombed? At least with a rookie you expect that level of teething, but Kolb is a veteran. Everyone would expect instant success given the cost and the experience. 

Of course if you truly believe in Kevin Kolb, you don’t think about the worse case scenario as much. But the Seahawks should consider it, fear it and that’s one of the reasons the Carson Palmer deal is much more attractive. You’re getting a cheaper player with a more proven track record. I mean, what exactly has Kolb done to justify a major investment? If Palmer struggles, the Seahawks could still have a first round pick next year to potentially address the position. Even if Palmer performs to a high standard, you will be afforded time to groom a replacement over the subsequent 1-2 years knowing by that point your quarterback will still only be 34 years old. 

It is a much more attractive deal for the Seahawks, even if it is short term thinking. I understand re-signing Hasselbeck remains an option for two more years especially if the salary demands are lowered. However, he will be the oldest starting quarterback in the NFL in 2011. The four years that Palmer has on Hasselbeck will be worth the modest compensation it’ll take to bring him to Seattle. 

When you dig into the situation a bit more, you come to realise why this is a good deal for Seattle, Cincinnati, Pete Carroll, Mike Brown, Carson Palmer, Andy Dalton and whoever the Seahawks eventually draft or sign at quarterback for the long term. 

And when you consider that, suddenly presumptions will change.


  1. Glen

    I like the idea of Palmer for all the reasons outlined above. I haven’t ever been a Kolb fan because the price will be steep. If it was A draft day trade, similar, to what Schaub was dealt for a few years back itd make sense but potentially giving up a top 5 or even 10 pick in a year that will likely be considered deep at QB would be silly.

  2. Lance

    The new QB twist for the Hawks comes from Dilfer who said today that after making several calls he has heard that the Hawks may have a deal with Minny for Jackson. Not sure if I like that or not. I do know I do not like a 1st round pick for Kolb. I think he is better than CW, but by how much? Not enough in my opinion to give away a 1st in next years deep draft. No thanks.

    • Rob

      The Seahawks could bring in Jackson as a third string free agent, but I am willing to wager that there is absolutely no chance they see him as ‘the plan’ to start next season. I’ve not heard anything about Jackson being a potential factor.

      • Lance

        Jackson article.


      • Mind of no mind

        I think Jackson would probably be plan C. The Vikings did not extend a contract offer, so he’s an unrestricted free agent so it would not require any deal with the Vikings. I think if Palmer, Kolb and Hasselbeck all fall through, I could certainly see Jackson being brought in to at least give Whitehurst comepetion for the starting job due to his familiarity with Bevell. Also under these circumstances, I think it would be Jacksons best shot at a starting job in the NFL, so I’m guessing it would be an easy sell.

        And even if they bring in one of those other guys, they still might try to get Jackson to compete for the 2nd string roll like they did with Losman last year.

    • ManBearPig

      I do not like that idea. There is a reason Jackson is free agent and Ponder was drafted and will start instead of him. He is not a starting QB and I would hope he is pland H instead of A, B, or C (etc). All kidding aside, Dilfer is known to talk crazy. I am not a fan and I don’t take anything he says as gospel. In fact, I listen to what he states, and believe in the opposite. Kolb is an option, I am lukewarm to the idea however. I truly like Palmer and think the fit would be perfect for the next couple years. Either way the Hawks cannot afford to giveaway their first round pick in 2012 as I predict may be in the top 5.

  3. Cassius

    Like I said on twitter, I’ve never hoped that you’ll be right more than I do right now.

    By the way, you put compensatory pick and I think you meant conditional.

    • Rob

      Fixed it, thanks Cassius.

  4. TonyB

    For Kolb, couldn’t they make the compensation a conditional 1st rounder..something like it can’t be higher than 15th pick overall or else the Eagles get our 2nd + 4th…

    While I am not a fan of Kolb, I think we should consider it since even with Palmer singing, 32yo QB is still a stop gap solution considering his age and injuries he’s piled up. Soon or later we’re going to have come up with a franchise QB, it could happen in next year’s draft certainly but Kolb does have actual game experience and looks like a player…

    • Rob

      I wouldn’t rule that out, but I’m not sure the Eagles would agree to a deal like that. Naturally their response would be, “Do you want the guy or not?” because how do you seperate the #14 pick being too expenive but #16 being OK?

      • ManBearPig

        I agree. Eagles wouldn’t agree with that. I am sure they believe they should get a first round pick period.

  5. Derek

    A 5th and a conditional pick with the highest possible being a 3rd, this would be a steal. I like the point you made recently that Palmer has had to face the Steelers and Ravens defense at least four times a year for his whole career. I am sure he could manage in the NFC West. I think he would be an immediate upgrade over Hasslebeck and I think it would be an interesting competition with Whitehurst. I am sure Whitehurst will start the season and Palmer might beat him out during the bye week depending on how Whitehurst faces the tough first couple of weeks.

    • Rob

      If they bring in Palmer, I’m certain he’d start the season and almost certainly finish it health permitting.

      • Derek

        But depending on when the lockout ends, do you think Palmer has the time to learn the offense by the start of the season? I wouldn’t be opposed to having Whitehurst thrown to the Wolves up to the bye week to see what he is made of. If he sucks, by then Palmer should have a clear grasp of the playbook and be able to run the show.

        • Rob

          It’s not ideal but it’s a situation a lot of teams will face. Palmer isn’t a rookie so there won’t be as much of a struggle in that sense. I don’t think Whitehurst’s ability to study the playbook tonight is enough of a reason to avoid starting Palmer because as soon as they make that trade – if it happens – Palmer is your week 1 starter.

    • Lance

      I agree if that is really the price. Again, it is all about the price. I would take Kolb if we were talking 3rd rounder or Tarvaris Jackson for a 4th or 5th.

      I do like Palmer though for 2 to 3 years only if that is again the price.

    • Mind of no mind

      I would guess that the conditional 3rd means no matter what they get a 3rd round pick, but it gets upgraded to a 2nd if certain conditions are met, like he starts X number of games and the Seahawks make the playoffs, and a 1st if they go to the superbowl. I think those are close to the terms of the Jets trade for Favre.

      Although considering how easy it is to make the playoffs in the NFC West, maybe you up the conditions a little more to protect against another 7-9 playoff berth costing you a 2nd rounder.

      • Blake

        Rob said when he first reported from the source that it COULD be a 3rd rounder. I would think that meant a 4th rounder or nothing that could be upgraded to the 3rd rounder. Playoff wins and a pro bowl were the conditions via Rob.

        • Rob

          I believe it could go as high as a 3rd rather than be improved to a 2nd. With regard conditions, I projected the Pro Bowl appearance but I have no exact knowledge of it.

  6. Blake

    Great write up.

    What are the odds we could trade even lower draft picks now that the bengals draft went so ‘well’? I dont like the idea of the potential 3rd being lost. I think we saw this year the effects of not having a 3rd. 4th&6th would be ideal 🙂

    • Rob

      The conditions on it being a third rounder will likely be extreme, such as a Pro Bowl appearance. If Carson Palmer is traded to Seattle and makes a Pro Bowl, given the QB’s in the NFC, I think it’d be worth the third rounder. But that’s just me guessing at conditions, don’t read into that.

  7. Chris

    Well written.
    Question: under 2010 rules, if the hawks trade for Palmer over re-signing Matt, would they be able to sign an elite FA like Gallery / Nnamdi?
    If so, that has to be appealing too…

    • Rob

      I believe that is correct.

      • ManBearPig

        That is what I was thinking, and what I would hope. I would love to see all three sporting the Hawks jersey. One can dream can’t they.

  8. James

    After reading this article, I took another look at the Kolb and Palmer highlights. Admittedly, they are at their best in these highlights, but I now think Kolb is the way to go. Palmer is 5 years older, but with 9 years of NFL pounding and he cannot move at all. With his great arm, he could keep the Hawks in the playoff hunt for the next couple of years, but I don’t see them becoming elite with Carson at qb. Kolb is very elusive in the pocket, has a very fast release and rifle arm, but best of all, he reads defenses as you would expect from a guy tutoring under Andy Reid for 4 years. I would trade the 2012 #1 for him. With Kolb as qb, and the weak NFC West, the Hawks would finish 8-8 or better, so the pick would be in the teens, a fair deal for a franchise qb. If the Palmer deal is as sweet as your sources say, that is a perfect backup plan.

    • plyka

      There is no reason to pay such a high cost for kolb. He is in the last year of his contract. The eagles will lose him for nothing next year and he is there backup qb with no vchance o of beating out vick. A 3rd rounder should really suffice.

      • Karlos

        Like Plyka said being in the last year of his deal really does hurt his value from an Eagles standpoint. We should just wait & throw him into the pool of Qb’s next season will offer.

  9. Misfit74

    A good read this was. I’d argue that ‘drama’ is no reason to revolve your front-office moves around and believe that is sensationalized throughout the media. That said, I like Palmer if the price is right for the short-term. If the price is not high enough, why wouldn’t Brown just let Palmer retire. The only drama in retirement is by a attention-whore QB who will not be named here. Brown still holds the cards and we, as a team, have to decide if we’re willing to pay up for a QB with a history of elbow problems and who is entering a similar twilight to his career as Matt Hasselbeck. I’m not convinced that Kolb’s near-27 year old body and WCO skill-set perfectly suited to our new OC Darrell Bevell’s offense might not be worth the investment (within reason, of course).

  10. Jerry Nice

    Palmer is the best case scenario IMO. I agree that the train has passed on Kolb…The #25 for him makes a ton of sense, but with the unknown, what if he bombs and we end up with the #1 pick? There goes Luck…I honestly think that the future leader of the Hawks in the long term has yet to be found. I strongly feel we will find him in the 1-15 range in the upcoming years, but until then do our best to remain competitive. Nab Palmer, and that offense gets a lot more capable. Combines with the upgraded line and added WR depth, it’s a perfect scenario for Palmer.

    I have a strong feeling that something is already agreed upon between the Bengals and Seahawks, otherwise our FO would have gone for a QB sooner or drafted differently. I know Carroll and Schneider didn’t like the play at QB next year, so having Whitehurst in a similar situation as last year seems like the move. We need an upgrade and Palmer immediately provides that. Kolb may, but he’s never played a full season so we have little to go off of, other than a couple of outstanding games (remember the bad ones too?).

    Please get Palmer Hawks…Come on!

  11. Jerry Nice

    Wow, grammatical errors everywhere:

    “Combined with the upgraded line and added WR depth, it’s a perfect scenario for Palmer.”


    “I know Carroll and Schneider didn’t like the play at QB last year, so having Whitehurst in a similar situation as last year seems like the move.”


  12. James

    If Palmer really wants to be traded, he just has to show up at the end of training camp and report for duty. They would have spent the preseason getting Dalton ready to play, would have handed the franchise over to him, and then Palmer shows up. And get this: the Bengals would owe him $11 million! They would trade him in a heartbeat.

    • Rob

      Exactly – and let’s not forget the huge distraction that would cause too.

      Critics of the reporting on this like John Clayton just say, “Well Palmer becomes the starting QB.” It’s not that simple at all and this will not happen. The Bengals appreciate the situation fully from a financial point of view and from a ‘protect the new QB’ point of view and it’s why Mike Brown isn’t going to put the blockades up.

  13. plyka

    There is very little doubt in my mind that hass will return to seattle. I think tim has got to matt and filled his head with the same nonsense that he has been peddling on the radio or tv as am “analyst.” This garbage about matt being a franchise qb, the best player on the team and a guy who can lead the hawks to a super bowl victory, if only it weren’t for every other person on the team being pop warner quality.

    This and perhaps his other friends brock huard and trent dilfer, filling matts head with similar delusional thinking was perhaps the cause of his ridiculous wage demands. Now that he is out in the real world so to speak he will realize his true worth, which is backup level with an opportunity to win the starting job, and thats if he finds a team interested.

    I have a feeling matt will come back to the seahawks because thats the only place which will actually give him the starters job and pay him more than a backup. Matt will surely use the excuse of “wanting to retire a hawk” to save face.

    This is too predictable. Unfortunately the only thing which can save us from another disaster season from hass is palmer. Thus I hope he comes, despite thinking that his best days are past. I would rather have caleb haine from the bears, but the front office would never make a wise decision like that. They depend too much on conventional wisdom.

  14. Morgulon

    Derek brought up a good question regarding whther Palmer would have a chance to get a grasp of Seattle’s playbook. Maybe I’m getting way ahead of myself but it got me asking the question……

    How close are the Bengals and Seahawk’s offenses?

  15. Peck

    I am wondering if player like Palmer who “doesn’t care to retire”, “will be ready to play only for Hawks due to family issues”. Is this the right guy who will give 100% and ready to die for the team? Is he determine enough, is he still has passion for this game?

    • Rob

      Absolutely he will be ready and the passion for the game remains. He is doing what it takes to get out of the situation he’s in at the moment, but rest assured he’s also a consumate pro. And when it is time to retire, he’ll go out at the right time… not play on for years beyond his peak.

  16. Kip Earlywine

    Something to keep in mind, but the “other” QB Seattle pursued could have possibly been Vince Young. Its not expected that many teams will be interested in Young and his price should be low. That could explain the dramatic drop in price- if they went back to Cincy saying they could get VY for a 5th.

    Kolb makes some sense too, but Philly is reportedly asking for a 1st round+, an offer that’s pretty close to the one Seattle allegedly started with for Palmer. I don’t really see how such a comparable offer would cause them to cave so dramatically. Hearing about their best and perhaps only suitor getting an offer for MUCH less than a first would.

    • Derek

      Titans will surely release Young, right? With his huge contract I don’t think the Titans will have success trading him. Although I do hope we end up with him.

      • Kip Earlywine

        Too soon to say, but I would lean towards release too.

  17. Donald Duck

    The deal for Palmer makes sense. I fear that Mike Brown may be like a person going through a divorce who does not do what makes sense but only what hurts the other party regardless of the price.

  18. Craig

    Completely agree. Great article, you nailed it.

  19. Ryan

    Good article and I hope you are right! To me this situation is a no brainer for countless reasons. One major reason you did not mention above is free agency when it occurs. Because we won our division we are now handcuffed until we lose a significant player in free agency.

    By trading for Palmer we bypass this rule and once Hasselbeck moves on, we then can pursue Gallery or other free agency studs that help us get better right away. That alone should be the driving reason to lose Hass.


  20. Ben

    I wouldn’t buy too much into John Clayton’s reporting chops. I don’t think he has the contacts that Lombardi or La Canfora or other have and so he buys too much into what FOs tell him. In general, his rumors seldom pan out and he’s probably just being used as a mouthpiece for the bargaining position of the Browns.

  21. James

    I don’t buy all the hype offered up by the talking heads that Matt will have a bounty of great choices for his future. Most of his potential suitors selected qb’s in the draft: Minnesota, San Fran, Tennessee, Jacksonville, Buffalo, etc. Some claim that the Titans will go hard after him as a bridge to Jake Locker. But Matt is not going to move somewhere just to play for a single year and then have to move on again. The other teams that might need a veteran starting qb whom they commit to for two or three years, such as Miami, Arizona and Washington, all are looking elsewhere according to the insiders. Seattle is Matt’s only viable option to start for the next couple of years, in my view. He and his family are deeply rooted here and I’m sure he really, really does not want to pick up and move. And if the Hawks go with Kolb or Carlson, Matt is looking at a lot of doors closing on his terrific career as a starting qb.

    • Shames

      And besides wanting more than a one year deal Matt has said he wants to win. I don’t see the Titans being a sure thing to win in the next 1-2 years…

  22. Billy Showbiz

    I believe that our franchise QB has yet to be drafted. Carson is a stop gap who gives us a few years to groom that QB. With Hasselbeck we can really only count on one more year of him as a starter if that. Then we’re playing with Charlie which I’d be intrigued to see. How cool would it be if he came in and killed it? I don’t think that it’s out of the question that he’d do well, just a riskier way to go. There is the possibility that he ends up being Derek Anderson and we’re Arizona next year.

    If we go after Kolb he does have to come in and be the guy. If we do that the FO has to believe that we’ll be winning the division again. Personally I think we win it again with or without Kolb. Someone mentioned that the new franchise guy would most likely be a 1-15 pick. If we keep winning the division we’ll have to trade up to get that pick and it will cost us at least a 3rd rounder and our first. So how is that less risky for a rookie than trading what would be a 21 or 22 overall for Kolb who has already been paid to be groomed by a great coach in a great organization? Sure, if he busts it will be a huge setback but does anyone really think he’ll bust? I think he could turn out to be average but it would be unlikely for him to bust. My feeling is that the guy is Matt Shaub 2.0. The question is whether or not that is good enough?

  23. woofu

    Kurt Warner told Arizona that Palmer would be a better choice than Bolger( just reported at red zone). Why are people not believing Carsons need to come to the NW is for real?

    I sure hope the Kaep pick to SF does not haunt us. It appears we could have traded #25 to OAK to keep him out of our div. but the trade down was to far to implement the OL plan Cable had.

    (roto)According to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, the 49ers explored trading up for Colin Kaepernick late in the first round before ultimately settling on dealing up for him at No. 36 overall.
    Citing multiple league sources, La Canfora says the 49ers were “persistent” in trying to acquire Kaepernick. Both San Francisco and Oakland had discussions with New England for the No. 33 pick, before the Pats called it off and settled on Ras-I Dowling. Ultimately, the 49ers wound up using the equivalent — per the NFL Draft Value Chart — of a first-rounder on Kaepernick anyhow (1,103.5 points, equal to a top-15 overall selection).

  24. Billy Showbiz

    I was curious about where the info came from regarding Carson only wanting to play in the Northwest. It’s almost concerning. Do you want a guy who always has retiring on his mind? It sounds like playing football is his contingency plan.

    • Rob

      Not at all, he wants to play for the Seahawks. His commitment is exactly what an absolute pro’s should be. He does, however, really want out of the Bengals organisation.

  25. Misfit74

    Not to pick nits, but since I keep seeing this and allowing myself to get hung up on it, it’s spelled: Organization. No ‘s’.

    • Rob

      It’s the British way of spelling the word, so that’s the reason why it keeps happening. Surprised my American spell checker didn’t pick it up though.

  26. Your Mom

    Giving up a #1 for anybody this year would be a horrible decision.

    * 4 out of 5 OL spots filled by rookie and 1st year guys
    * No OTA’s and probably limited training camp.
    * Very tough schedule.

    This screams top 10 pick.

    I think the Hawks are building the right way but there is no getting around the fact that 2011 is going to be a long year.

  27. Hawk_Eye

    Do the Seahawks really want to trade our #1 pick next year? We could be passing up a great chance to acquire a franchise quarterback. Especially when you consider that most of the quarterback needy teams picked up one this year. With that in mind, we would have a much better chance next year. And maybe… we should just let Charlie Whitehurst get his shot and if he fails, we have a great shot at Luck.

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