Before summarily dismissing this article before even reading it, let me state up front that there are no sources or rumors or anything swirling in the air linking the Kansas City Chiefs to Carson Palmer. Rather, the Chiefs are likely to go with one scenario only with a slight aversion if things continue as they are: Matt Cassel will remain the starter throughout the 2011 season and possibly Ricky Stanzi near the end of the season if the Chiefs remain at the bottom of the AFC West.
But the Chiefs also stand at an interesting crossroads which might make them open to making such a trade given the rumors coming from Jay Glazer that the Cincinnati Bengals will trade their veteran starter by the trade deadline (week six). Let's help break this down:
1. Carson Palmer can still play football. Last year, despite the 4-12 record and the thought that Palmer was finished, he passed for more yards, a higher completion percentage, yards/pass and touchdowns than the last three seasons. The Bengals, simply put, are not a good team, and it's hard to judge Palmer's talents on such a squad.
2. Palmer has a chip on his shoulder. Or at the very least, he should. His home franchise told him they'd rather sit him for a year than play him. They took him into a court of public opinion and had it out. If Palmer had any chance to play this season, you'd better believe he'd take his game to another level.
3. The Chiefs are not going to Suck For Luck. Those hoping for the Chiefs to abandon the season's hopes and go on autopilot on a trajectory heading toward the first pick in the draft are bound to be disappointed. There's too much heart and veteran pride to just settle for 0-16 in the hopes that a new rookie changes all that. You can tell from Chiefs players that there's something to play for this year, despite the odds against them. That leads us to...
4. Matt Cassel is not the guy to get them there. That much is clear. He had a fine year last year managing games in an efficient way while the running game took care of weak competition. If the Chiefs are going to try this year (see above), then they know they are not set for the quarterback position. That much should be clear not only with the interception at game's end against the Chargers, but the previous 10 quarters that left the Chiefs offense impotent on the field.
5. If the price is low, why not? That's really the key question here. If Mike Brown will give Palmer away for a decent price and Palmer is up to proving his worth on the field, the results could be great. The Chiefs need to develop the players they have and it's clear that the AFC West isn't the quality division that will take 10 wins to lead. It's the second worst conference in football and the Chiefs could still win enough to make it happen.
Again, there's no reason to believe this will happen, but it's interesting to think about it could happen -- or how such reasons could set up another transaction. Certainly Cassel is not going to be the long-term answer for the Chiefs, at least with the way he's been playing thus far, and yet it's hard to believe Haley is going to turn everything over to a rookie like Stanzi or that Pioli is really hoping for Landry Jones, Matt Barkley or Andrew Luck.