Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati. In fact, the former Heisman Trophy winner is so fed up with the Bengals organization, he's vowed to retire rather than return with the team next season.
Normally when a player makes a stand like this, there's a good possibility he's bluffing. In this case, Palmer appears to be sincere. His local house up for sale and recent remarks about him having $80 million in the bank validate his thoughts of walking away from the game.
Palmer doesn't need football but teams around the league need him. For obvious reasons, the Cardinals are one of the first teams that come to mind.
As much as Palmer wants out as quarterback in Cincinnati, the Cardinals are in equal need of bringing one to Arizona. While the Cardinals struggled in several areas in 2010, dismal play at the quarterback position cost the team any shot at contending for a third consecutive division title.
Why Palmer over names such as Kevin Kolb or Kyle Orton – who have been two pillars of the Cardinals quarterback conversation? Palmer is a more proven commodity – what you see is what you get. While his days of torching opposing defenses are likely over, Palmer is good for QB rating of somewhere around 85.0 and that, quite frankly, will get the job done in the NFC West.
Looking back at the several areas Arizona struggled in this past season is also a reason to go after Palmer instead of the other options. Palmer, thanks to his public criticism of the Bengals and his demand to be traded, can be had for much less. A third or fourth-round pick might be enough to land him. Kolb and Orton, meanwhile, will likely demand draft picks in the first or second round.
LB Von Miller would instantly
upgrade the Cardinals' defense
In Round 2, selecting a left tackle from a talented – yet unheralded group – would help alleviate ongoing issues along the offensive line. That group of tackles includes Mississippi State's Derek Sherrod, Villanova's Benjamin Ijalana or Chris Hairston of Clemson.
From Palmer's perspective, Arizona should be a desirable destination. Palmer has spent the last seven seasons in the cold, blue-collar city of Cincinnati. Palmer has managed to stay in good standing with the fans but his upbringing in California - along with his playing days at USC - never made for an ideal match.
The Cardinals would provide Palmer with a perch closer to home, warmer weather and a fan base that would borderline worship a legitimate name under center following the trials and tribulations of last season.
Also awaiting Palmer in the friendly confines of the desert is All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald along with a young crop of receivers ready to emerge.
Palmer knows the importance of being surrounded with playmakers, most notably when Chad Ochocinco was known as Chad Johnson and was actually productive. Palmer and Ochocinco have seemingly fallen out of favor and despite the resurgence of Terrell Owens, visions of throwing to Fitzgerald could leave Palmer pushing for a trade to Arizona more than anywhere else.
With memories of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and Richard Bartel still fresh in the minds of the Cardinal faithful, Palmer coming to Arizona would be nothing short of pure bliss. Not only would Palmer bridge the gap to the franchise's potential quarterback of the future, John Skelton, but his arrival would also help keep Fitzgerald around for the long haul.
All things considered, it almost makes too much sense not to come true.
Questions or comments? Contact Brad Wilbricht at firstname.lastname@example.org
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