The Bengals got amazing value in their trade of Carson Palmer.
It’s almost as if the last few years of Palmer’s decline never happened. The Raiders gave up a first round pick in 2012 and a second round pick in 2013 that could improve to a first. That’s the price we’d expect Palmer to cost years ago, before his arm strength and accuracy started to tail off.
Bengals fans have a right to be excited about their young team. For all his faults, owner Mike Brown has done a nice job drafting in recent years at the top of the draft.
His top two picks this year: Andy Dalton and A.J Green — have re-shaped the franchise.
In 2009, the team added a strong starting tight end (Jermaine Gresham), a fine pass rusher (Carlos Dunlap), and a good defensive line piece in Geno Atkins.
The Bengals have seen some of their other recent picks slowly develop into solid contributors: Rey Maualuga, Michael Johnson, Andre Smith, and Jerome Simpson.
Go back even further and you find some top-shelf talent picked like cornerback Leon Hall, tackle Andrew Whitworth, and cornerback Johnathan Joseph, who left for Houston.
This is a better track record than most of the league. If Dalton is for real and the Bengals can hit on their two first round picks next year, they have the makings of a strong young core that will be dangerous in the AFC North.