I will be the first to admit that Carson Palmer is no longer, nor is he likely ever to return to, the form the he showed when leading the Bengals to a divisional title in 2005, his two serious injuries since that time have taken a toll on his performances, and while the knee injury may have seemed the worst, it is more the Tommy John surgery that has had the biggest negative impact on Carson's on field performances. Despite these issues Palmer has still performed well in the context of the entire NFL, he has managed to keep his completion percentage above 60 percent and throw more TD's than INT's in both of the past two seasons despite the perennial turmoil in Cincinnati.
Palmer is still a viable and possibly very good option for the Cardinals to look at as their Quarterback entering the 2011 season. Here are a few reasons why the Cardinals should look hard at Carson Palmer.
More after the jump...1 - The Cardinals are guaranteed to play at least 9 games a season in a dome, with 8 home games and the trip to St Louis all indoors. Over the past two seasons Palmer has a QBR of over 95 when he plays indoors with a completion percentage of 70 percent, he has also managed to throw twice as many touchdowns as he has interceptions. Playing all eight home games and one road games indoors every season with games against the likes of one of New Orleans, Atlanta, Minnesota, Detroit, Dallas likely every season indoors could be of huge benefit to Carson Palmer who has spent his entire career in the wind and cold of the Northern Mid-East of the USA, playing road games in Baltimore and Pittsburgh every season.
2 - The Cardinals right now are a team that are lacking offensive leadership. Kurt Warner provided this team with a steadfast leader at Quarterback with Boldin a leader inside the locker room, both departed in the same offseason and with the star player (Fitzgerald) more of a quiet get on with his own game type of player, the Cardinals could use a leader. Palmer is a player with proven leadership skills. He has been able to deal with Chad Johnson and the drama that he brings; he has been able to rise above the stigma of the Cincinnati Bengals; Palmer is a proven leader, and that is huge in any Quarterback you wish to bring in.
3 - Price. This is a point that is going to be under conjecture, but it is likely that the price on Palmer will be much less than that on Kevin Kolb, and depending on how the Broncos feel about Orton, Palmer could be a cheaper option that him too. In terms of draft pick compensation value compared to likely benefit gained, Palmer is the guy who comes out on top of this analysis.
He is far from a perfect fit, as I touched on earlier the injury issues are still there, and behind an OL that is a work in progress it could be an issue. His contract numbers are very large, and it is not going to be a cheap investment if that investment is made and finally we are still not sure whether the Bengals are even going to entertain trade offers for Palmer. However he does have upside and has performed very well indoors even post injury, is the most proven of any QB on the market (Never had a full season with more INT's than TD's, never had a full season under 60% completions, Has thrown 20+ TD's in 5 of the last 6 seasons and 25+ in four of the last six seasons.) and it is as close to a guarantee you can get in the NFL that the play from the QB position will be drastically upgraded.