It's weird, as great as the National Football League has been, the one thing that the NBA and, to an even greater extent, Major League Baseball have had over the NFL for as long as I can remember is a compelling trade in-season trade deadline.
In-season football trades were rare, and paying attention to the actual deadline for trades was almost unheard of. For whatever reason, this season there has been a lot more buzz at trade deadline time with bad teams looking to possibly unload marketable players (see Lloyd, Brandon) or good teams all of a sudden needing help at key positions.
Which brings me to today's deal that the Raiders made for Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, a deal that sends the ten-year veteran to the 4-2 Raiders for a 2012 first-round pick and a conditional 2013 first-round pick, a crazy price in an "all in" type of deal.
Five thoughts on this deal:
5. The Bengals and Raiders did a deal with each other, meaning someone had to win There was a commercial back in the day for Barron's where an old, strait-laced Wall Street type, in an effort to sell subscriptions, pointed out that "You buy a stock with the idea that its price is going to go up; the problem is the person you're buying it from thinks it's going to go down." The point is that every trade of assets is a zero-sum game. Someone always gets the better of someone else. Which means that it was a guarantee that the Bengals or the Raiders were going to win a deal. And in this trade, the Bengals clearly got the better of the Raiders (at least until they use both picks on interior offensive linemen with arthritic knees, a solid +150 shot on the Pendergast Big Board). Mark this day down. Mike Brown did something right.
4. The NFL quarterback market is the most out of control open market sector since the dot-com bubble burst So what would you pay for an NFL player fitting this description: -- Hasn't suited up for a game or practice since last December -- A solid five years removed from his peak performance -- Decided to just go home and leave the team to whom he was contractually obligated
CORRECT ANSWER: Nothing
Okay, now let me add this little wrinkle: -- NFL starting quarterback since 2002
REVISED CORRECT ANSWER: A first round pick in 2012 and a conditional first rounder in 2013 (worst case, second rounder in 2013)
The market for quarterbacks with the faintest sliver of hope for competency is out of control. To wit, Palmer fetched a king's ransom for the Bengals with the above profile. Brandon Lloyd, who has been performing at a near-Pro Bowl level for the last few years in Denver at wide receiver, fetched a conditional fifth round pick. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- if NFL football were a college course, quarterback play would be like the final exam. It counts for like 50 percent of your final grade and if the grade at that position is a D or lower, there's virtually no chance that you score even a B in the course.
Oh, by the way, on the Brandon Lloyd thing....
3. So Texans...that whole "Derrick Mason for a seventh round pick" thing...did you not even call the Broncos to ask about Lloyd? What happened to the days where the Texans got right of first refusal on all Bronco players? Clearly, the Texans were in the market for a wide receiver and were working the phones to that effect (unless the Jets had put Mason on some sort of NFL eBay and Rick Smith decided to "Buy It Now" with a seventh rounder). No phone call to Denver to ask about Lloyd? A seventh rounder is okay, but a conditional fifth is too rich for your blood? If it were any other organization, I would have loved to have seen the owner asking the general manager what the hell happened. Seriously, Derrick Mason is a stopgap. A fourth wide receiver at best when Andre Johnson is healthy. Brandon Lloyd is a difference-maker and immediately becomes your top target with Andre out, and a dynamic second receiver when Andre returns. Major fail.
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SHOW ME HOW
Now, back to Palmer..... 2. The Terrelle Pryor NFL Experience is still two injuries away from happening The lazy analysis always dictated that Terrelle Pryor was another Cam Newton. You know, because they're both big, athletic and black. While they are similar players, the fact of the matter is that Cam Newton is a much more polished passer with a stronger arm, and far more charismatic than Pryor. That said, the Pryor experience will either be a revelation that massive, mobile quarterbacks are the next big thing, or it will be a colossal washout that winds up with him reluctantly playing wide receiver. There's no in-between stage where he settles into being an average NFL quarterback. It's either he really is Cam Newton Lite, or he's a taller version of Kordell Stewart, Version Slash. With Campbell going down, we were a few Kyle Boller meltdowns away from seeing Pryor. Now, he's buffered by Palmer, Boller and the possible return of Campbell later this season. That's too bad.
1. Al Davis may still be alive. This deal is proof Davis reportedly passed away a couple Saturdays ago, but if there was ever proof that perhaps his rumored death is all a big stunt so that Davis can rule the Raiders in peace without fear of reprisal, this would be it. Remember the movie Braveheart where Robert the Bruce's leper father ruled Scotland from the top of a tower without ever going out in public (mostly because the public tends to be repulsed by things like bloody facial lesions)? That's how I picture Davis -- in a secret skybox somewhere with his face wrapped in bandages feeding his son instructions on how many first round picks to offer up for Carson Palmer.
Ironically, today it is Palmer who is screaming "FREEDOM" at the top of his lungs, à la William Wallace (but minus his intestines being pulled out of his upper abdomen).
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