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Still on the Carson Palmer bandwagon as the Fins best hope

Yes, I am still on the Carson Palmer trade bandwagon.

Laugh if you want. I've been there before. Folks mocked when I was all alone on the Ricky Williams trade bandwagon in 2000 -- except for Williams, who called me from New Orleans to express his interest in the idea, and Dave Wannstedt, who pulled me aside and asked what Williams had said before admitting he'd love to make it happen. It happened nine months later.

So, yes, Carson Palmer to the Dolphins? I continue saying it can definitely happen. I said it before. I'm repeating it now. Iit can happen. 'm for it. I will not allow it to die until it is, well, officially dead.

And it is not dead at this point.

The fact is, quite to the contrary. Every shred of evidence (and it is rare evidence, I grant you) coming from the Bengals is they might actually be inching toward the idea of trading Palmer. And every time I ask around with the Dolphins nobody says, "Dude, you're dreaming, move on."

Everybody in the Dolphins organization I've talked to about the idea so far has said things like, "Carson's pretty good," or, "I like Carson," or, "It's one of our what-ifs."

After I wrote the column on Palmer saying the Dolphins view him as a singular special options above guys like Kyle Orton or Vince Young, I told a high-ranking Dolphins personnel man about my column. He didn't say, "We're definitely going to do that." He did say, "He's a great kid. That would be something to think about for a long time. But he's not available right now."

So I'm not abandoning the idea until the idea deserves full abandonment. And that time has not come. Quite the opposite.

The latest twist on this possibility is an ESPN report stating the Bengals are among the teams that would be interested in Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb. Obviously, neither Kolb nor Palmer can be moved at the moment as the league is in lockout mode. But when that lifts, free agents will move, trades will be allowed. And everyone believes Kolb will become available via trade.

If the Bengals, who own the draft's No. 4 overall selection, get a QB, you should think they won't be involved in the Kolb sweepstakes. But if they don't get a QB there, Kolb will be a possibility for them. And if Kolb is on campus in Cincy, Palmer is no longer needed, thank you very little.

So the Bengals will have the choice of allowing Palmer to sit on his backside and get nothing for him. Or they will have the option of trading him.

The scenario becomes more complex if the Bengals pick a QB early because while it suggests Palmer is no longer in their plans long-term, it obviously doesn't close the door on him immediately the way Kolb's arrival would.

A little aside here: I have spoken to a league source whom the Bengals approached about QBs well before the story about Palmer wanting out of Cincinnati broke. The source told me in January that the Bengals were going to be looking at QBs as they prepared for life without Palmer. So at that point, they were readying for the possibility of moving on without Palmer.

Maybe they knew the storm that was coming -- that Palmer, sick and tired of being sick and tired in Cincinnati's often dysfunctional organization, wanted out and was vehement about it to the point of threatening retirement. Maybe way back then, the Bengals believed Palmer had played his final game for them.

I know, I know. Publicly, the Bengals' stance continues to be Palmer is their QB and he will play in Cincinnati or retire. Hey, doesn't that sound like the stance Bill Parcells took on Jason Taylor in 2008? Yeah, that was the stance the Dolphins had just before they traded Jason Taylor to Washington.

The point is, that is the public stance a team must take to keep hopes of getting value in return for a player. If the Bengals even hint they are moving on from Palmer, the price for him drops. And they do not want that because they would want the highest return possible for him.

I know some of you are reading this and telling yourselves, "The Dolphins shouldn't want Carson Palmer. He's not that good."

That is not an opinion without merit. But it is one without facts.

What if I told you Miami can add a QB that threw 26 TD passes last year in what was considered a bad year for him? That number of TD passes, by the way, represents 11 more TDs than Chad Henne threw and nine more than Miami threw as a team.

Yes, Palmer threw 20 interceptions. But Henne threw 19 interceptions and Miami threw a total of 21 altogether.

So plug those stats into Miami's 2011. Would the Dolphins have been better with 63 more points on the board and one fewer interception? Yeah, I would tell you they would have been. No doubt.

Are you aware Palmer completed 61.8 percent of his passes? Are you aware his QB rating was 90 or better in six games, including a 345-yard performance against the Patriots last year? Are you aware the guy was playing behind an offensive line that made Miami's seem like a Pro Bowl unit by comparison?

Are you aware Palmer won't be 32 years old until December? And Tom Brady, the QB everyone in the division hates to face, will be 34 years old during the same season?

Palmer would make the Dolphins a playoff contender, an actual true playoff contender, immediately. Maybe you hate that idea. Maybe you like the idea of picking Ryan Mallet or Andy Dalton, or Colin Kaepernick or Ricky Stanzi or Christian Ponder and hoping he becomes a good player by 2012 or 2013 or before the Rapture. Maybe the idea of being irrelevant for a couple of more years doesn't bother you.

Me? I know Palmer is good now. I think he'll be good for another five years or so, so the notion that adding him is only a temporary fix is bogus.

I like the fact there are little shreds of evidence that Cincinnati might warm to the idea of actually trading Palmer. 

And I'm not going to drop the idea of the Dolphins getting him until is it absolutely out of the question. That time has not yet arrived.

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