For any of you who have ever watched “The Bronx in Burning”, there is a line that Billy Martin says about George Steinbrenner in one of their heated arguments. The line goes, “Just because he was born on third base he thinks he hit a triple.” Martin was saying that Steinbrenner was born into money and had no business running a baseball team. While that issue may be up for debate, there is no question that Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown has proven he is clueless for some time now and just because he is the son of the late-great Paul Brown, he is far from a football expert. Perhaps nothing signifies this fact better than the Carson Palmer situation.
When rumors started to swirl that Carson Palmer wanted out of Cincinnati, it was Mike Brown who came out to the press and stated that he would not trade the quarterback because Palmer is critical to the Bengals future. Our question for you Mr. Brown is what future are you referring too? I have a hunch the Bengals could go 4 and 12 without Palmer and if 4 and 12 is what you’re hanging on too, there is even a bigger problem.
From looking like an idiot on the HBO Documentary “Hard Knocks” in 2009 to setting a record for most consecutive seasons of 10 losses or more and proving he doesn’t know how to draft, (Can you say David Klingler, Akili Smith, Ki-Jana Carter and Big Daddy Dan Wilkerson all in the top 10), Mike Brown honestly believes the “Bungals” are on to something and he rewarded Marvin Lewis with a raise and a contract extension after this season. Mr. Brown, did you actually watch the games this year or was your DirecTV on the fritz?
With all of this chaos, there is one thing Mike Brown has done right and that was the signing of Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour. After the Chicago Bears fumbled the ball by letting LeFevour go in the 2009 preseason, he quickly got snapped up by Brown and there he sits as a 3rd string signal caller on the worst franchise in the league.
What the Bengals should do is trade Palmer. Palmer wants to go and the fact that he threw for nearly 4,000 yards last season (3,970) and 26 touchdowns will turn teams on in this quarterback-lacking league.
Currently, the Bills, 49ers, Carolina Panthers, Washington Redskins, Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings may be shopping for a new QB. With Andrew Luck going back to school and Ryan Mallett, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert considered the only three college quarterbacks with first round grades in the 2011 NFL Draft, Carson Palmer could be great trade bait.
As for LeFevour, this kid has a tremendous upside. Known as a poor-man’s Tim Tebow in college, if LeFevour had played for a school in the SEC he would’ve easily been a first round pick. As it stands, LeFevour showed he was the greatest QB in the history of the MAC Conference and that conference includes the likes of Byron Leftwich (who had a solid career) and Ben Roethlisberger (who already has 2 Super Bowl Rings).
At the end of the day, the Bengals need to ask themselves, “What do they have to lose?” Carson Palmer told www.espn.com that “I have $80 million in the bank. I’ll play football for the love of the game but that would have to be elsewhere.” Can he be anymore clear that he doesn’t want to be in Cincinnati?
In any relationship, when one party doesn’t want to be in it success will be next to impossible. Carson Palmer wants out of Cincinnati and if Mike Brown has any sense at all, he will let Palmer go and get as much as he can in trade value. It has been clear that the Bengals are never going to win a Super Bowl with him. What are they hanging on too?
The time has come for the world to see just what Dan LeFevour is made of and from the Bengals standpoint, they have nothing to lose.
This is not a team coming off of a 12 and 4 season that lost in the AFC Championship. This is a team that has fallen from grace and every time it looks like they’ve turned the corner (2005 and 2009 playoff appearances), the bottom falls out.
To honor Keyshawn Johnson and his 1997 autobiography written with Shelley Smith entitled, “Just Give Me the Damn Ball”, the time has come for Mike Brown, Marvin Lewis and the rest of the Bengals brass to give LeFevour the ball. Either he will evolve into a star or bust but at the end of the day, isn’t the risk worth the potential reward?