Happy Carsonversary: Revisiting the Carson Palmer trade three years later

It's been three years since that fateful day when the Bengals traded Carson Palmer.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

No matter which way you look at it, the Bengals still came out way ahead in the Carson Palmer trade.

Three years ago today Palmer’s time as a Bengal officially ended when he was traded to Oakland for first- and second-round draft picks. At the time of the trade, the Raiders needed a quarterback after Jason Campbell broke his collarbone against the Browns and the Bengals had their replacement in Andy Dalton. Cincinnati, which was in a bye week, was 4-2 and had won three straight en route to the first of three straight playoff appearances.

Mike Brown said all along that he wouldn’t trade Palmer unless he got value for it. As much as Brown would have loved to make Palmer live up to his contract and remain "retired" this was a deal way too good to pass up.

"I think Mike really is much more patient than I am. And so it’s played out here this way," said Marvin Lewis after the trade was official. "I think it’s a good thing. … When you sign a contract, you’re bound to that contract. We’re going to hold true to that until it’s time for us to best-benefit the football team. Like Paul Brown said: ‘We’ll tolerate you as long as we need you.’ I think that’s very evident and true."

So how are the key figures in the trade doing? Let’s take a look:

Palmer: A year ago at this time Palmer was in danger of being benched after throwing multiple interceptions in five straight games. Since then he has won nine of his 11 starts and thrown 20 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. Arizona’s offensive line has improved and Palmer has thrived in Bruce Arians’ scheme.

Despite missing three games this year due to nerve damage in his right arm, Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim told Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic earlier this week that the team has talked to David Dunn, Palmer’s agent, about an extension. It is also interesting since Palmer is 35 and in his 12th season.

Since leaving the Bengals, Palmer is 20-22 as a starter with the Raiders and Cardinals. Here is a look at Palmer and Dalton over the past four seasons:

Category Palmer Dalton
Games 43 53
Completion Pct. 62.0 61.5
Yards per attempt 7.50 7.08
Touchdowns 63 86
Interceptions 52 52
Passer Rating 84.6 86.7
25-plus pass plays 85 101

Dalton: All he has done is lead the Bengals to three straight playoff appearances and sign a six-year extension worth $96 million. In his 53 starts, Dalton is 33-19-1 with 12 300-yard games and 18 with a passer rating over 100. In his first 53 starts with the Bengals, Palmer was 27-26 with 10 300-yard games and 21 with a 100-plus rating. What Dalton has not done though is win a playoff game, which is what everyone wants this season. However, neither has Palmer.

Since he was drafted in the second round in 2011, Dalton has received more scrutiny than Palmer. It wasn’t until Palmer’s fifth season in 2007 that criticism began. With Dalton it has been constant with the Good Andy and Bad Andy comparisons.

Hue Jackson: The man who helped orchestrate the trade from the Raiders’ side is now the Bengals’ offensive coordinator. You have to remember though that in 2011, Oakland was 7-4 and in prime position to win the AFC West before losing four of their final five games and missing the playoffs. Reggie McKenzie was brought in as as general manager and Jackson was fired two weeks later. In the past year though, Raiders owner Mark Davis has taken the brunt of the blame for the trade saying it was his call.

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Dre Kirkpatrick: The cornerback, who is in his third year, was drafted with the first-round pick that the Bengals received from the Raiders. When Terence Newman was injured last season, Kirkpatrick started the final three games and had three interceptions in the final five, including a pick-6.

He has seen only 26 snaps on defense so far this year and got called for two penalties in the Week 3 win over Tennessee. Kirkpatrick’s greatest impact has been on special teams as a gunner in punt coverage. Many thought that at this stage Kirkpatrick wouldn’t be the fourth cornerback but he hasn’t been able to supplant Leon Hall, Newman or Adam "Pacman" Jones. Newman though is in the final year of his contract.

Giovani Bernard: He was taken with the second-round pick that the Bengals received in the trade and has emerged as one of the team’s biggest offensive threats.

Last week against Carolina he had an 89-yard touchdown run, which is the second longest in franchise history. Bernard is second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL, averaging 112.4 scrimmage yards per game. At his current pace, he would have 1,798 scrimmage yards this season, which would break James Brooks’ team record of 1,773 which was set in 1986.

Oakland: The Raiders have gone 8-29 since firing Jackson. Since Palmer was traded to the Cardinals for a seventh-round pick last year the Raiders have had four different starting quarterbacks — Terrelle Pryor, Matt McGloin, Matt Flynn and Derek Carr. They traded for Matt Schaub during the offseason but he couldn’t win the job in the preseason.