If the Bengals do get two first round picks for Carson Palmer, I think they pulled off a hell of a trade. The Bengals didn’t have much leverage. It was pretty obvious Palmer wasn’t going to play for them and they have seemingly moved on to Andy Dalton. I imagine casual NFL fans might have even forgotten about Palmer. When Jason Campbell was lost for the season on Sunday, I think the two predominant reactions were: 1) there goes the season and 2) David Garrard? I didn’t see Palmer emerging from his self-imposed exile, and I certainly didn’t see a team giving up a nice price for a QB with a fair amount of questions.
Palmer’s stats from 2010 look decent. He threw for just under 4,000 yards. He had 26 TDs against 20 INTs, a 62% completion rate. All those are pretty serviceable, but they were accumulated on a bad team and featured stretches where Palmer looked downright dreadful and had people questioning his arm strength and future. No matter what you make of his 2010 campaign, Palmer is a far cry from what he was in his prime. In 2005 he completed 68% of his passes, threw for 32 TDs and just 12 INTs. That Carson Palmer is worth two first round picks–at least–but, six years later, it’s hard to pin down Palmer’s real value.
I commend the Raiders for taking a shot, because they are sitting at 4-2 and are right in the middle of things in the AFC. They have been building for a couple of years and you’d hate to see one injury derail that process. It’s hard to imagine they could sustain success with Kyle Boller at QB, and obviously Terrelle Pryor is a long-term project at this point. The Raiders have a strong running game and some talented young receivers, they don’t need a QB to come in and do everything. They just need someone to do the job Jason Campbell was doing, which was steady, but not spectacular. Palmer definitely has better pure passing skills than Campbell so if his arm strength is there and he can acclimate to Oakland, there’s a chance the Raiders could be even more dangerous in the AFC after this move. It is a risk, though, because if Palmer comes in and is just decent, and the Raiders just miss out on a playoff spot–they’ll be wishing they had their #1 pick to keep building.
Palmer’s return to the league highlights once again the lack of talent at the position. In some ways it’s surprising that Palmer was out this long. Teams are desperate for QBs, the turnover is ridiculous. For someone with Palmer’s track record at just 31 years of age to be sitting around watching is tough to comprehend. Take a look at the QB position around the league. How many teams are truly stable? I see about eight teams that assuming their QB maintains his health are without a doubt locked into them for several years, everyone else is in some state of flux. In honor of Carson’s triumphant return, let’s rate the QBs. We haven’t done that in a while…
1. Aaron Rodgers—He’s off the charts this year. Better than last year when he won the Super Bowl.
2. Tom Brady—Brady is going to put Wes Welker in the Hall of Fame. That pretty much says it all.
3. Drew Brees—He’s hanging onto this spot by the slimmest of margins. Hasn’t been the same since the Saints won the Super Bowl.
4. Matt Stafford—Stafford is having his breakout year. Fifteen TDs against just four interceptions and a deadly connection with Megatron.
5. Eli Manning—Eli is having a good year, especially statistically. The Giants have great receivers, and he’s padding his stats. Easily his highest standing ever in regards to the rest of the league.
6. Ben Roethlisberger—Ben is not getting it done with gaudy numbers this year, but I think he’ll be back in his usual territory by the end of the season. Probably entering the end of his prime.
7. Philip Rivers—The biggest statistical disappointment of the year, but his favorite target is hurt and the Chargers are still 4-1.
8. Michael Vick—Vick will always be the most spectacular, but this year he seems to have regressed a bit in terms of consistency. The Eagles are partially to blame for this.
9. Ryan Fitzpatrick—Fitzy seems to be doing everything better than the “2nd-Tier” guys who will be following him on this list. And, he’s doing it in Buffalo.
10. Matt Hasselbeck—Do I want to put Hasselbald in the top-10? Of course not, but that’s how bad the league is right now.
11. Alex Smith—He’s leaning heavily on his D, special teams and Frank Gore, but Alex Smith has been the ultimate game manager this year—if you can believe it.
12. Jay Cutler—I feel like Cutler, regardless of his numbers or his team’s standing will always be just outside the top-10.
13. Matt Schaub—I think the Matt Schaub elite-QB ship has sailed. Much like with Cutler, it feels like something will always be missing.
14. Tony Romo—It doesn’t appear that his own team or coach really trusts him, and rightfully so.
15. Matt Ryan—Matty Ice is in dangerous territory. He’s got plenty of weapons, but can’t take the leap.
16. Joe Flacco—Flacco isn’t asked to do a ton in Baltimore, and that’s good, because I’m not sure he’s capable. Horrid completion rate this year.
17. Cam Newton—Newton might end up being a flash in the pan, but you can’t deny his game changing athleticism. It’s one thing he has over everyone else in the league.
18. Carson Palmer—Sight unseen, this feels about right.
19. Matt Cassel—Cassel had a great week before the bye that keeps me from totally writing him off.
20. Josh Freeman—Freeman has been far from a darling this year, but the Bucs are 4-2, and we can’t completely bury him.
21. Andy Dalton—Dalton isn’t given the chance to do too much, which might be a good thing, just keep lofting it to A.J. Green.
22. Kevin Kolb—Kolb has been exactly as I expected in Arizona.
23. Sam Bradford—The whole Rams situation is dreadful, how will all this losing wear on Bradford, and will Brandon Lloyd help at all?
24. Curtis Painter—I want to say Painter has been OK, but that’s low expectations talking. Not a tough schedule and still 0-6.
26. Mark Sanchez—Sanchez definitely won’t be the Jets QB in 2013, and he might not make it to next season.
27. Tim Tebow—Tebow has the support of Broncos fans. Not sure why.
28. Blaine Gabbert—We don’t know much about Blaine Gabbert at this point other than he’s better than Ryan Leaf.
29. Christian Ponder—I’m assuming Don is done, can’t imagine Ponder is any prize.
30. Tarvaris Jackson—Jackson is probably better than a couple more guys, but starting him at QB is just wasting a season.
31. John Beck –If you can’t beat out Rex Grossman in pre-season you can’t start for at least 30 teams in the league.
32. Matt Moore—I’ll assume everyone at least caught the highlights from last night.