Around the AFC North (10/20): Bengals Pull Off a Steal

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 19: (FILE PHOTO) Quarterback Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals fades back in the pocket while playing the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Palmer is on the verge of being traded to the Oakland Raiders, according to reports on October 18, 2011. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

In today's edition of Around the AFC North, I specifically talk about the big trade a few days ago involving the Bengals and the Raiders.

Last year, the Cincinnati Bengals were a mess. Despite having three big-name veteran players on offense in QB Carson Palmer, WR Chad Ochocinco, and WR Terrell Owens, the team finished with a 4-12 record and their team surrendered a lot of points.

Prior to this season, I predicted that the Bengals would be even worse off when they they dumped both receivers and had to find a new quarterback because Palmer was demanding a trade. I thought it was a good idea to get rid of the receivers, but I thought it would take time before a new group of offensive players would be able to move the ball effectively. When the Bengals drafted Andy Dalton in the second round of this year's draft, it seemed like they conceded that Palmer would not be in their plans at quarterback this year after his trade demand, but Mike Brown stuck to his word of not dealing the veteran quarterback...until the very last second, that is.

I was stunned what the Oakland Raiders gave up to acquire Palmer, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The Oakland Raiders just lost their owner, and this is a move that would probably make Al Davis proud. In fact, it seems as if his manner of operations still remains within the Raiders organization. Sitting at 4-2, the Raiders look like a team that could make the postseason this year, and they just lost starting quarterback Jason Campbell due to the Cleveland Browns. To show how little faith they had in Kyle Boller leading the team to victory, the team immediately sought out the services of David Garrard, a surprise cut by the Jaguars before the season. He said he needed surgery, so to really make sure they didn't have to use Boller, the Raiders coughed up a first-round draft choice in 2012 and a conditional first-round draft choice in 2013. That 2013 pick will become a second-round pick if Palmer fails to win a playoff game as a Raider.

The Bengals already appear to have done a tremendous job in this year's draft. QB Andy Dalton has shown a great deal of confidence and late-game moxy, while WR A.J. Green is living up to his billing as the best receiver from this year's class. The Bengals are a surprising 4-2, and now they might have four first-round draft picks over the next two years? Yikes.

At least the Browns have two first-round picks in 2012. Keep losing, Atlanta.

Raiders head coach Hue Jackson talked about Palmer and getting him prepared for the offense. He will start this week against the Kansas City Chiefs:

Why did you want Carson Palmer so badly?:

"Because this guy can help us get to where we want to go. This guy is going to help us win a championship. I’m convinced of it, I know it without any shadow of a doubt. He’s got all the characteristics I look for in a quarterback. He’s got it."

What’s your argument to those who say the team mortgaged its future and gave up to much to get Palmer?:

"Everybody’s entitled to their opinion. I respect that, what other people think. But that don’t mean that’s what I think. The people here within the organization, we made the best decision that we thought for our football team. I think it’s the right decision and I stand by it and we move forward."

Be more specific when it comes to the attributes that you like:

"He’s got a big arm. He can make every throw in football that a quarterback needs to make. He still has mobility; he can still move around and make those throws outside of the pocket. He’s a tremendous leader. People follow him and he has the ability to elevate his teammates’ play around him because he demands that from the players."

If it were not for the injury to Jason Campbell, would we be having this conversation right now?:

"Absolutely we would not be having this conversation. Jason was doing great and leading this team to where it needed to go, but down he went and so we had to step up and make the next best decision."

Is it possible that Palmer is ready this Sunday?:

"You never know. I’ve had him for several hours now and we’re going to work on the playbook and we’re going to go out on the practice field tomorrow and see where we are."

The Browns, meanwhile, were reportedly contacted by several teams about running back Peyton Hillis, but Cleveland was not interested. It's amazing how Tony Grossi was probably the reason the Browns had to field calls in the first place.

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