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Carson Palmer And The Seattle Seahawks: Weighing The Pros And Cons

I asked for the opinion of Seattle Seahawks’ fans after Carson Palmer demanded a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals. Through the power of the hivemind — on Twitter, of course — the overall reaction was somewhere between no and “kill it with fire.” It falls in line with what I figured and with my own opinions. For now, however, lets put that aside and evaluate the pros and cons of any potential deal, including weighing the Bengals’ potential asking price.

Now that the world knows Palmer wants out, the Bengals are left in a terrible negotiating position. Palmer is reportedly willing to threaten retirement to get out, and every single NFL franchise knows it. With his numbers falling recently, the asking price for Palmer can’t be high at all. Put it all together and you’d expect the Bengals to get little in return for Palmer in a trade.

Palmer just turned 31 and is heading into the late stages of his career in the NFL. He’s got time left, to be clear, but isn’t on-par with the top-tier quarterbacks in the league. Still, his 2010 season wasn’t as terrible as you might believe — 3,665 yards, 60.9 completion percentage, 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 15 games. For comparison, Matt Hasselbeck completed 59.9 percent of his passes for 3,001 yards, 17 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. His 2010 numbers were nearly identical to those from a year before.

The question is not whether you believe Palmer is the quarterback of the future — he’s clearly not — it’s whether you believe Palmer can be a viable stop-gap between now and whoever is next. The 2011 NFL Draft is lacking in franchise quarterbacks, and any that are around when the Seahawks draft will be of the developmental variety. There simply has to be some kind of buffer between Matt Hasselbeck’s final games and a long-term solution.

On the money side, Palmer is under contract through 2014. The deal, agreed upon in 2005, was for 9-years at $118.75 million dollars. The base salary increases over the final years, topping out at $14 million in 2014. Here’s what’s left:

2011: $11.5 million
2012: $11.5 million
2013: $13 million
2014: $14 million

Where does that leave us? Even if the asking price is low — perhaps a late-round pick — his contract makes a deal unattractive. You’re talking about locking up $50 million over the next four years in a player who appears to be reaching the end of his NFL life. While the Seahawks do need a stop-gap between now and the future, I don’t believe Palmer is the answer, especially at that asking price. It’s a risk, and the Seahawks would be banking on a change of scenery giving Palmer a new lease on his NFL quarterback life — far from a certainty. The risk here outweighs the reward, in my opinion.

Stay tuned to our StoryStream for more on Carson Palmer, his demand for a trade and where the Seahawks fit into all this.