FJM Style: Rick Reilly on Carson Palmer
I really like writing these FJM-style pieces, I just haven’t found anything in the past week truly worthy of a mocking. Then I read this Rick Reilly column about Carson Palmer’s standoff with the Bengals and all that changed. I’ll preface by saying that Reilly is actually right about the situation, but in the most Reilly-esque of ways he also manages to be completely wrong. Let’s jump right in:
In this episode of “Horrible Bosses,” we feature the owner of the Cincinnati Bengals, Mike Brown, and his mission to make everybody who works for him wish they had become podiatrists instead.
Is “Horrible Bosses” a TV show now? Or is it a recurring Rick Reilly feature? I’m confused. Also, aren’t podiatrists doctors, meaning that it’s actually a good career? Wouldn’t most people rather be podiatrists than get hit repeatedly by 300-pound steroid freaks, which is essentially what the NFL is?
Here’s how bad it is working for Brown: His best and most honorable player, Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer, is vowing to walk away from $46 million rather than work another day in Brown’s prison stripes.
Is Carson Palmer the Bengals best player? *checks Bengals roster* Wow, the Bengals do suck. That said, you could argue that Cedric Benson is a better player than Palmer at this point, you could say the same thing about 1st round pick AJ Green, who hasn’t played a real NFL snap yet. I won’t cast aspersions on Palmer’s honor except to not that it’s irrelevant. Also, prison stripes, get it? Because the Bengals wear stripes and so do prisoners… Whatever, you guys are no fun.
“Carson just finally got fed up,” says a close friend of Palmer. “He’s just sick of the same 5,000 mistakes the franchise repeats every year. He’s tired of wallowing in mediocrity. He won’t ever talk about it, but that’s how he feels. He’s a very tolerant guy, but when he gets pushed over the line, he gets mad and doesn’t go back. He’d love to play, he’s dying to play, but he’s never going to play there.”
Carson Palmer’s stat line from 2010: 3,970 yds, 61% completions, 26 TD, 20 INT. That’s pretty much the definition of mediocrity. I don’t blame the guy for not wanting to play for the Bengals, but let’s not pretend that he hasn’t been part of the reason they’re a disappointment.
Yes, Palmer has four years left on his nine-year, $118 million deal. You signed the contract, you say. Live up to it. In fact, that’s what Brown has said. “He gave his word. … He’s going to walk away from his commitment. We aren’t going to reward him for doing it.”
But Brown is a hypocrite. He has cut hundreds of players before their contract was up and given them nothing. Why should Palmer live up to a deal that works only one way? If Palmer should suddenly go blind, would Brown still give him the money? Are you kidding? Brown is cheaper than your local Goodwill.
I assume that the insurance policy that Brown provides Palmer with would pay for it. Yeah Mike Brown is an ass, but he’s really not being a hypocrite here. This being the NFL, his only obligation is to pay players the guaranteed money on their deals, he’s well within his rights to cut them and not pay them a cent more. Palmer on the other hand does have an obligation to live up to his deal if he wants to get paid. That’s how contracts work in the league. Also, terrible Goodwill metaphor, just sayin’
Brown makes four people do the work of eight. Most teams have four or five scouts; Brown keeps one or two. One time in the 1980s — before the Internet — I flew in and asked to see the newspaper clip files on a few players. “We aren’t quite caught up on our clip files,” the weary PR guy said, “but you could go through those.” He was pointing to three 12-foot stacks of unopened Cincinnati Enquirers. Nice.
Mike Brown is cheap, we get it. That said, he’s perfectly willing to pay Carson Palmer the guaranteed money on his contract if Carson wanted to play.
What’s hair-pulling for Palmer is that there are so many teams out there that are starving for a good, veteran quarterback. Seattle, for instance, is going to start Tarvaris Jackson, a man who will not take you to the promised land. Tarvaris Jackson will not even get you out of Egypt.
Sure, lots of teams would like a good veteran quarterback, one problem here, Carson Palmer isn’t good. Also, Carson Palmer is apparently a Moses like figure to Rick Reilly.
Seattle would be a perfect solution. Even at this late date, Brown could probably get two 2s for Palmer and Palmer could play for his old college coach, Pete Carroll. But Brown would rather get bubkes for Palmer than embrace sanity. He’s going to let Palmer rot like an overripe banana, out of pure spite. Brown is the kind of guy who sledgehammers his own lawnmower just so you can’t borrow it.
I’d love to see the reaction from the fan base whose team gives up two 2nd round picks for Carson Palmer. My guess? Somewhere between paper bags on the head and mass suicides.
This leaves Cincinnati starting a rookie QB, TCU’s Andy Dalton, a baby who has been a pro for six whole weeks. Good luck, kid.
Andy Dalton could probably at least do as well as Carson Palmer did last year. All he has to do is not throw the ball at his receivers’ feet five times a game.
Why won’t Brown “reward” Palmer the way he did RB Corey Dillon? Or Chad Ochocinco, the wide receiver who whined, bitched and threatened to “whup” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis’ butt? Brown finally gave in and traded Ochocinco to New England this offseason. That’s like going from Motel 6 to the Four Seasons.
I don’t actually know the answer to this one, because Mike Brown doesn’t confide in me. Maybe Ochostinko was such a headache that it was just easier to get rid of him?
Palmer, meanwhile, has left large portions of his body on the field for Brown. His nasty ACL and MCL tear in a 2006 playoff game, his ripped elbow in ’08. He’s worked alongside fools and pretenders, and all under an owner who could make the ’72 Dolphins mediocre. And he’s done it all without a single discouraging word about an owner who invented discouragement.
Palmer’s career is in many ways a tragedy, but its those injuries that Reilly is now listing which are why Palmer is no longer good.
Of course, Brown has made such a vomitorium out of this team that, if he gave into Palmer now, he might open Pandora’s box. He’d have a line down the hall and all the way to Starbucks of guys who want out.
The Bengals won the AFC North in 2009, just sayin’. Also, said players already do want out and will likely get out. It’s called free agency and its been around for a while.
What I don’t get is why the taxpayers of Cincinnati aren’t boycotting. Mike Brown promised if they built him a stadium, he’d win. They built it. Brown has gone 72-103-1 since. The mayor should sue. Where’s Jerry Springer when you need him?
Making a daytime talk show? JERRY, JERRY!
At the very least, I’d be trying to force Brown to move to L.A. and start over someday with a new franchise. L.A. wouldn’t mind. Those fans tolerate the Clippers!
No, they ignore the Clippers, there’s a difference. Also, after the abject failure that has been the Cincinnati Bengals, why would the NFL want to put another team there?
Even worse for Palmer, he owes the Bengals four more years. Even if he unretired at age 65, he’d still be Bengals property. He’s only 31. Steve Young had six killer seasons after his 31st birthday. Unfortunately, Palmer is stuck with the only boss in the league who can make you yearn for Al Davis.
Yeah because Steve Young was still good and hadn’t had debilitating injuries. Carson Palmer sucks, and his knee and elbow are held together with duct tape. He has as much of a chance of stringing together six good seasons as I do of sleeping with Brooklyn Decker. It ain’t happening.
If I’m Palmer, I watch the signing wires like a hawk. As soon as the Bengals climb to within $11.5 million of the hard salary cap, I beeline it to Cincinnati and sign. That would force Brown to either cut five or six players to be able to pay me — or sign my freedom papers.
Good rationale, except excuse me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Palmer’s contract already included in that cap number? He is signed, and he hasn’t put in retirement papers has he?
Until then, Cincinnati, enjoy what Brown can do for you. It won’t be much. If you win two games this year, throw him a parade.
On the front of a departing Amtrak.
If your team sucks then kill the owner who wouldn’t trade away your mediocre quarterback. YOU ARE TOTALLY JUSTIFIED AND THIS MAKES COMPLETE LOGICAL SENSE.
I can’t believe that I just defended Mike Brown. Damn you Reilly!!