In July, someone close to Cincinnati owner Mike Brown explained to me clearly the near- and long-term future of Carson Palmer, the quarterback who said he'd rather retire than return to play for the Bengals, though he had a contract with Cincinnati through 2014.
This person told me Brown would not trade Palmer before the season, even though he knew Palmer's resolve was strong and that the quarterback would probably not bend and return to the team. The person said the next chance to move Palmer would be at the trading deadline, and only if the offer was at least a second-round pick, and only if coach Marvin Lewis and Brown's daughter, club executive vice president Katie Brown, could convince Mike Brown to do what was best for the team long-term.
"But in reality,'' the source said, "this probably won't get done 'til before the 2012 draft, because Mike is so dug in, and no one's going to make a great offer for Carson the way he's played the last couple of years.''
No one, however, could have predicted that the 4-2 Oakland Raiders would have been so desperate to stay in playoff contention at the trading deadline, and that they would have lost their starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, to a broken collarbone two days before the deadline. According to both FOX Sports and ESPN, the Raiders agreed to send their first-round draft choice in 2012 and a conditional pick in 2013 -- which could become a first-round pick based on the level of Palmer's play -- to Cincinnati in exchange for the 31-year-old Palmer.
The level of compensation is stunning. I'd heard Marvin Lewis would have been thrilled to get a second-round pick for Palmer, both as fair compensation and to get the Palmer distraction off the franchise's hands. But to get a solid first-round pick, plus the prospect of another first- from the Raiders in 2013, is the kind of trade that could certainly change the course of the two franchises playing surprisingly well in 2011. But this will affect both franchises for many years. The Raiders now do not have a pick in the 2012 draft until the fifth round. And the Bengals, who may have struck gold in this year's draft by picking receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton in the top 35 picks, now will be in prime 2012 draft position, with two first-rounders.
For the Raiders, they're hoping to hit on a player on the downside the way they hit on Jim Plunkett when they plucked him off the street in 1978 after he washed out with New England and San Francisco. They're hoping a player determined to prove he's not diminished, reunited with head coach Hue Jackson (Bengals receivers coach from 2004 to 2006), will be enough to carry them to their first playoff berth in nine years. Oakland plays Kansas City this week, then has a bye. Palmer, if he can't be force-fed the playbook in time to play this week, should certainly be ready to take the reins when the Raiders come back from their bye with a Nov. 6 home game against Denver.
Five other immediate upshots of the trade:
COLTS WANT LUCK.
For years, Bill and Chris Polian have figured out a way to build a competitive team around Peyton Manning, and I don't doubt -- especially with the most fiscally responsible payments to first-round picks right now -- they'll do the same with Manning and Andrew Luck. If they want Luck, they'll pick him. And I think if they have the first pick, they'll spurn deal overtures and pick him.
NOT YET. BUT THE DRAFT IS SIX MONTHS AWAY.
It seems to be a different hype to me. In 1998, there was Ryan Leaf to play the foil with Manning -- and this year, there's not another quarterback in Luck's league. Plus, in the last 14 seasons, the amount of media covering the NFL has probably close to tripled -- in both volume and year-'round intensity. So I'm sure by next April we'll all be sick of all things Luck.
Not hyperbole. I'll buy Timmons, but not Farrior. In six games this year, Farrior's missed 76 defensive snaps -- almost 13 a game. Last year, he missed 119 defensive snaps. Yes, he plays on many third downs, but not all. And so far this year, Bowman and Willis have missed a total of 16 snaps in six games.
CALL MIKE FLORIO ON THIS ONE.
The NFL has existed for 92 seasons without a draft lottery and now, because of one very good quarterback, we should implement one ... and we should do it in the middle of a season without the full opportunity to study it to see if it's the best idea for the league? Go tell Miami fans if their team goes 1-15 and has the worst record in football by far, and they have to see a ping-pong-ball lottery determine whether they get the first pick in the draft, or whether it goes to a 4-12 team instead. So, no, I'm not in favor of putting a lottery in place for something that might happen.
GOOD POINT, BILL.
Nor to me. This is a good point. It didn't occur to me at the time; all I thought was, "Well, they want to go up by six, because going up by five is no different than going up by four.'' But of course it is. Thanks for pointing it out.