NFL Trade Talk: Could Fractured Love Land Carson Palmer in Denver?

Chaz MattsonAnalyst IJuly 28, 2011

Despite Mike Browns bitterness, and Kyle Orton's disgruntled nature - a trade between the Bengals and the Broncos makes all the sense in the world.
Despite Mike Browns bitterness, and Kyle Orton's disgruntled nature - a trade between the Bengals and the Broncos makes all the sense in the world.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

“Don’t want your sympathy

Don’t need the third degree

Just go to break away and scream

Caught in a dream

Why don’t you set me free

Fractured Love – Fractured Love." – Def Leppard


Ahh…to be an NFL QB

The quarterback position in football is well known as a position for athletes who usually receive special treatment. 

It’s most likely why quarterbacks and head coaches generally find limits in their relationships with one another.  Quarterbacks have the life of their football team on the line so to speak, while coaches many times want their field generals to submit to whatever scheme is implemented regardless of how flawed it may actually be. 

In Denver, you could see the way John Elway wound up with the Broncos by telling the Colts he would never play for them.  Additionally, you could see how Dan Reeves planned to part ways with Elway by trying to trade him to Washington in a failed deal that lead to his own firing. 

In more recent times, Jay Cutler was not valued to say the least by an immature head coach in Josh McDaniels, and he was forced out of the Broncos organization. 



At the end of the day, McDaniels never survived in part because he was unable to overcome one of his first big moves as head coach of the Broncos.

Currently in Cincinnati, Carson Palmer is thought of as being officially retired by the Bengals organization.  On Tuesday of this week Mike Brown, the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals held a bitter and by all accounts, spirited press conference essentially stating that franchise quarterback Palmer is now considered to be retired. 

Of course, this is all due to Palmer taking a solid stance against the Bengals this offseason.  Mike Brown however took it a step further than most owners by saying his organization would not reward Palmer with a trade because he is essentially breaking his commitment to the team.


Could Cooler Heads Prevail?

In Cincinnati the likelihood of this ending well has already passed that point, though there is a remote chance at reconciliation later on during the middle or end of this season. 

However, it’s still possible for the two sides to enter into deeper discussions and that could eventually lead to Palmer departing the Bengals organization.  At the end of the day Mike Brown should still seek a return on his investment in Palmer. 



That means only one thing. He must trade Palmer for the best possible return he can find.  While other teams might be interested, Denver actually makes a lot of sense for both the Bengals and the Broncos.

While Kyle Orton appears to be on his way to Miami, should that deal fail, the only other immediate options for a trade is Seattle.  The Seahawks having salary cap issues which would make it harder to land Orton. 

So that makes the Bengals a distinct possibility for landing Orton if he is still around or Brady Quinn

Don’t forget Brady Quinn in all of this. He’s an Ohio kid who would love nothing more than to have a chance to redeem himself in a place where he could possibly start. 

Face it at this point the Bengals have no successor for Palmer in place, however if they could see the future in Quinn or Kyle Orton they might roll the dice. 


Is Palmer for Orton a Fair Trade?

This could be a toss-up; keep in mind Kyle Orton did lead the Broncos to a victory over Palmer and the Bengals in their house in 2009.  Most fans will remember the Broncos stole back their victory after a long Bengals drive put Denver in a pinch. 



Orton got help in the form of a deflected pass he threw that wound up in Brandon Stokely’s hands and it was off to the races.  That catch and subsequent touchdown stole the victory from the jaws of defeat, but it was a game the Broncos had essentially owned for roughly 56 minutes.

Statistically speaking both Palmer and Orton are roughly the same quarterback the last couple years.  However saying that Orton was on a team that had to pass and Palmer was on a team that was run more conservatively on offense. 

So Orton could be viewed as being a fantasy darling but playing over his head or being statistically enhanced due to the Broncos use of the spread under McDaniels.

The thing here however is that Orton and/or  Quinn could work for the Bengals and be what they need: a return on Palmer.

It would also create a real competition for the Bengals starting position with Bruce Gradkowski having just been dealt from the Raiders

Palmer coming to Denver opens up a can of worms, but that will be addressed momentarily.



Is Palmer for Quinn a Fair Trade?


As of right now, there is no fantasy football league on planet earth that will allow a straight up trade of Brady Quinn in exchange for Carson Palmer. 

It's simple. Palmer is a proven veteran, and Quinn is clinging to hope of staying in the NFL and getting one more shot at a starting role.

So what makes this deal possibly work?  That too is simple, it’s called the future of the franchise.  There is probably no other QB outside the state of Ohio that would rather get the opportunity to wear the Bengals black and orange tiger stripes than Quinn. 

It means he could possibly redeem himself in his home state.

If the Bengals could see some future with Quinn they should act and Denver should listen.  It’s possible the Broncos could send a future consideration as well to make this deal work.


Is it possible for both Orton and Quinn to go in exchange for Palmer?

Absolutely, yes!  The Bengals might have questions about both Orton and Quinn, however they might feel a little more at ease with a healthy competition and a No. 1 and 2 that are capable of guiding the Bengals franchise.




So with Tim Tebow in Denver, How Does Carson Palmer Help?

For Tebow, he is going to face pressure either way this season, and the Broncos could have an excellent fall-back plan with Carson Palmer. 

Palmer has all the potential in the world to be the Broncos starter, so it makes sense to make him the second stringer coming into Denver.  The Broncos seem intent on letting Tebow prove he can or can’t be a long-term NFL starting QB. 

Should he fail, Palmer would be the perfect insurance plan, and he will hold future trade value if the Tebow experiment pans out.

Now this is an unconventional take and an unconventional approach to solving a problem, but at the end of the day part or all of this could work for both the Bengals and the Broncos. 

The Bengals have essentially already lost Carson Palmer and they should sensibly seek something that is best for the future of their franchise, not just seeking revenge on a disgruntled player. 

To elaborate, Palmer put his life on the line for the franchise year in and year out only to have second rate talent and second rate schemes keep his team from becoming a perennial contender. 



For the Broncos this works for a couple of reasons.  Palmer is the type of QB that would work in a John Fox system, and the Broncos really don’t need to start him this season. 

The fact is the way Tebow plays football he elevates the probability of him either getting injured or he might show he’s not the starting QB the Denver Broncos need.


On A Personal Side 

OK, I’ve mentioned Carson Palmer to Denver since last year.  He’s a proven veteran who wants to redeem his career.  There is no need to rush him into the starting role. 

That gives the Broncos time to see what they have in Tebow, and it also would give them a fall-back plan.  Oddly enough, if the Broncos dealt Orton and Quinn to the Bengals, they would have the same thing, and their franchise would have more of a future than they currently face.

As it is with any fractured relationship, it’s best for both sides to move on and find something that works for them individually.

So to me, as a fan of the NFL—one who has been burned a bit by the offseason—the Bengals and the Broncos should pull the trigger and make something happen here.

So is this idea crazy?  

No crazier than bitterly hanging onto fractured love!


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