2011 NFL Draft: Could Cam Newton Be the Replacement for Carson Palmer?

Rob WeilCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2011

Could Cam Newton change the Cincinnati Bengals' fortunes?
Could Cam Newton change the Cincinnati Bengals' fortunes?Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It is no secret that Carson Palmer has become fed up with the Cincinnati Bengals and has even gone as far as to issue an ultimatum that if he is not traded he will retire, according to profootballtalk.

The general consensus is that one of Palmer’s frustrations is the less than generous treatment he has received from Cincinnati Bengal fans over the course of the past season.

By the end of the 2010-2011 season, it was not uncommon for a cascade of boos to rain down on the former Heisman Trophy winner as he walked off the field at Paul Brown Stadium.

A growing buzz is building amongst Cincinnati Bengal fans that Cam Newton is the man to replace the 31-year-old Palmer. The Bengals have the fourth pick in the 2011 NFL draft and Newton would likely still be on the table should owner Mike Brown and his brain trust of consultants decide to pull the trigger at pick No. 4.

Now, it should be noted that popular opinion isn’t always the most logical opinion. Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green could help bolster the wide receiving corps or Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers could provide speed on the defensive line. Many fans have gotten caught up in the “Cam Newton hysteria.”

My question is whether things would ultimately turn out any better with Cameron under center rather than Carson.

If I may bring up some ancient history, in 2003, the Bengals offense was thought to be going stagnant under quarterback John Kitna so the Bengals made an investment in their future and drafted a Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback with a rocket arm in Carson Palmer to replace the aging Kitna.

Now, in 2011, the Bengals offense is once again thought to be going stagnant under the 31-year-old Palmer. Bengals fans are crying out for ownership to make an investment in the future and draft the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback with a rocket arm in Cam Newton to replace the aging Palmer.

I would love nothing more than to see an elite-level quarterback come to the Queen City and bring this frustrated Bengals fan base gridiron glory, but it’s beginning to seem as though the organization is chasing their own tail in hopes of finding a savior signal-caller.

Whichever quarterback steps into the starter's gig for Cincinnati in 2011 will have the benefit of having more talent around him than most would realize.

Running back Cedric Benson rushed for 1,111 yards last season and is a more-than-capable tailback to go with next season. Benson said earlier this season that he might not return if former embattled offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski is not released, but the fact that Bratkowski has been given his walking papers since then makes this issue null and void.

At the wide receiver position, it looks as though the ever-colorful Chad Ochocinco will return as the headliner of the group, but there is depth behind Ocho to talk about.  

Jermaine Gresham and Jordan Shipley played well as rookies last season and figure to make even bigger steps during their sophomore campaigns. Jerome Simpson, meanwhile, finally showed signs of his potential after producing little during his first couple of seasons in Cincy.

The offensive line is questionable and areas do need to be addressed by the time next September rolls around.

My point is that, if popular opinion where to prevail and Cam were to suit up for the Orange and Black, he would have talent to play around.

I must reiterate what I said earlier, that the popular pick isn’t always the right pick and Cincinnati has other holes they can address with their top-five draft pick.

Carson Palmer is obviously upset and very well might not be back under center next season, but fans shouldn’t let the Cam Newton hysteria cloud their vision on the best course of action for the franchise.

Newton might help the franchise if selected, but his impact would pale in comparison to the contribution that A.J. Green or Da’Quan Bowers could make.