When the trade was announced, it seemed like the Cincinnati Bengals stole one from the Oakland Raiders. The Bengals sent disgruntled quarterback Carson Palmer to the Raiders in exchange for a first-round pick in 2012 and a second-rounder the following year. If the Raiders reach the AFC title game in either this season or next season, then the second-round pick becomes a first-round pick.
I agree that the Bengals came away from the trade as winners—they will have four picks in the first two rounds of the next two NFL drafts. With those picks, they can build on what they have going right now.
The Raiders get a quarterback who has performed on an elite level in the past and has made two Pro Bowls. Most of the media try to make it seem like Palmer is done and he can't get back to the Pro Bowl form he once had. To that I say, numbers don't lie.
Last season he threw for just under 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Those are pretty good numbers. Those are great numbers compared to the 3,180 yards and 18 touchdowns the Raiders quarterbacks combined for last season. Another thing I'd like to point out is that Carson Palmer came alive at the end of last season when Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens were both out of the rotation.
In Week 16, Palmer led the Bengals to an upset win over the San Diego Chargers, who were fighting for the lead in the AFC West. He had nearly a perfect rating, throwing four touchdowns and no interceptions. He followed that up with a 300-plus-yard game against the Ravens' stingy defense.
Obviously Palmer can still produce against the league's best defenses if he has the weapons around him to do so. The Raiders have far better players at WR, RB and TE this year than the Bengals had last year. Once Palmer gets up to speed, he is going to put up some big numbers with the speedy weapons he has around him in Oakland. Which brings me to the point of this article.
Who has a better shot at making the playoffs this year?
Sure, the Bengals are set for the long-term future after acquiring potentially two first-round picks from the Raiders. However, they are in the hunt for the playoffs this year. They are 4-2 heading into Week 7, as are the Raiders. What the Bengals did was keep the Raiders alive in the AFC this year.
See what I am getting at? The Raiders now have the fire power to make it into the AFC playoffs. That leaves just five other spots left. If the Bengals don't win their division, then they will be fighting for one of the two wild-card spots. By not trading Palmer to the Raiders, the Bengals could have essentially eliminated the Raiders from playoff contention, making their chances of getting in a little better.
Well, that's it for now. I think everybody came away as winners from the trade. The Bengals got a couple of high draft picks, the Raiders got a franchise QB and Carson Palmer gets to play football again for a coach he actually wants to play for. The Bengals came away from the trade as winners, but Mike Brown will be kicking himself if the Bengals miss the playoffs because the Raiders finished ahead of them in the AFC.