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Postby slowkidz » Mon Apr 21, 2003 7:52 pm

No matter what they say...we all saw it coming....


Bengals narrow talks to one: Palmer
By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com

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Provided they reach a contract agreement in principle, which should be achieved well in advance of the NFL draft his weekend, the Cincinnati Bengals have settled on Southern California quarterback Carson Palmer as the first overall selection, ESPN.com has learned.


The choice of Palmer, who won the Heisman Trophy after a strong senior season, is hardly surprising. He has been rumored for weeks to be the front-runner as the No. 1 pick, but wasn't necessarily the unanimous choice of Cincinnati's coaching staff.

Recently, the Bengals continued to create the perception the decision had not been resolved, and maintained a dialogue with the agents for Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich and Kansas State cornerback Terence Newman.

“ Their secret is out. Everyone knows who they want. They just have to get it done, that's all, and no one expects that it will fall apart. ”
— League source on Bengals targeting Carson Palmer

But it became clear over the weekend the Bengals were focusing on Palmer and, on Monday, the accompanying subterfuge all but ended.

Bengals officials began exclusively negotiating with agent David Dunn, who represents Palmer, and ratcheted up the talks with face-to-face discussions. There have been no discussions with Tom Condon, the representative for Leftwich, or with Newman's agent, David Ware, since last Friday.

Both men had been told Friday the Bengals wanted to have a deal in place by early in the week and that club officials planned to continue talks through the weekend. Ware received an e-mail Saturday informing him the Bengals were in meetings, and that they would resume talks Monday morning.

That did not occur.

League sources said on Monday evening that Dunn arrived in Cincinnati prepared to negotiate a deal that would make his client the top pick. Those sources said the Bengals would only turn back to Leftwich or Newman if negotiations for Palmer became untenable.

"Their secret is out," said one league source. "Everyone knows who they want. They just have to get it done, that's all, and no one expects that it will fall apart."

Palmer, 23, started 45 games for Southern California during a five-year career lengthened by an injury-related redshirt for the 1999 season. He completed 927 of 1,569 passes for 11,818 yards, with 72 touchdown passes and 49 interceptions. Since first-year head coach Marvin Lewis has already said that veteran Jon Kitna will be the Bengals' starter, Palmer will not have the pressure of starting as a rookie.

Like the agents for the other two prospects with whom the Bengals were negotiating, Dunn probably will have to work hard to hammer out the so-called "backside" elements of the contract. Those are the components that dramatically inflate the value of a deal if the player reaches predetermined performance benchmarks.

The Bengals want to be more restrictive on the backside issues, to perhaps delay until later in the contract escalator clauses and related enhancements.

The importance of backside elements: The deal signed by last spring's first overall selection, Houston Texans quarterback David Carr, is a base contract valued by the NFL Players' Association at about $21.5 million for seven years. But with the backside enhancements, the union appraises the deal at as much as $47.25 million for six years or seven years at $58 million.

Citing the flat rookie pool, which means teams will only be able to invest as much on their rookies classes in 2003 as they did a year ago, the Bengals have been adamant about using the basic Carr contract as a model. But it is believed they want to adjust some of the backside details.

Notable also is that Cincinnati never made any firm offers to Leftwich or Newman. There is a simple explanation for that: Both players were apt to quickly accept a proposal rather than be drafted a bit later in the first round, where the financial payout will be less.

If Leftwich isn't the Bengals' choice, for instance, he could slide all the way to the 10th pick in the first round. In the 2002 draft, the 10th spot paid, on average, 40 percent less than No. 1.

So the odds are good that Leftwich and Condon would have taken the Carr deal, if just tweaked a bit to demonstrate they received at least a modest increase. Even applying a 25- to 30-percent discount that the Bengals would have expected from Newman, because he does not play quarterback, he would probably have jumped at a reasonable offer and the opportunity to have the prestige of being the first player off the board.

Ware was asked last week to submit a proposal dealing with backside issues. Condon last Thursday sent the Bengals a complete proposal but the Bengals never responded to it.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
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Postby Indy Dragons » Mon Apr 21, 2003 8:28 pm

Not a real big surprise.

It will be tough for them to get this done 'early in the week'!!!
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Postby Homeless » Mon Apr 21, 2003 9:34 pm

LOL it was soooo predictable its funny when it actually happens !
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Postby fntsyrookie » Tue Apr 22, 2003 7:37 am

Not a real big surprise. Lewis is doing the right thing with Kitna too. Telling him he's the starter. It works out well for everybody. Kitna doesn't have to worry about young talent breathing down his back, and Palmer doesn't have any pressure. He gets at least a year to develop, and can come in during 4th quarters when the Bengals are down by 30. :-)
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Postby hayesb26 » Tue Apr 22, 2003 7:57 am

as much as i dont like the pick i cant say i didnt know it was coming... i would have loved to see them trade down to 3 and let houston get rogers and watch detroit get all pissy... still could have gotten Newman.. oh well! guess we'll see how it turns out :-)
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Postby kashikis » Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:35 am

only thing i can say is its about time they decided the draft is in 4 days
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Postby hayesb26 » Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:41 am

haha i know kash... last year i remember houston had carr signed long before the draft! :-B
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Postby DUKE » Tue Apr 22, 2003 8:54 am

This isn't a good year to have the #1 pick. The Bengals don't have a whole lot of choices, but to go about it in this fashion. If the Bengals could trade down they would. Having said that, Palmer is probably the obvious choice. I think there is a bigger risk with Newman than with Palmer. Corners don't go as #1 picks, and especially when there are so many ?'s with one like there are with Newman. His shoulder injury could be a legitimate concern. He failed his physical at the combine, He's 26 years old (which is relatively old these days for a rookie), and his size is not one of his attributes with reciever's getting taller and taller throughout the league. Like Rook said, it's smart to make Kitna the starter right out of the shoot, to let Palmer sit and absorb the offense for a year or two. Kitna is the perfect guy to mentor a young qb. Another smart thing is getting him signed before draft day, eliminating hold outs and bad vibes that has hampered the progress of #1 picks year after year.
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Postby DraftDodger » Tue Apr 22, 2003 10:35 am

The Bungles blow it again! There are a bunch of decent QBs kicking around the league right now without starting jobs ... and the Bungles, one of the worst teams in the league, go after a guy who can't make an immediate impact. Blech!

I would have had some respect for them if they'd taken Newman, but the talent in this draft is all pretty weak and taking someone who's not likely to play is a TOTALLY WASTED PICK because future drafts will have a better crop of players and guys like Palmer will be on the scrapheap.

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Postby Dazedncnfz » Tue Apr 22, 2003 11:00 am

kashikis wrote:only thing i can say is its about time they decided the draft is in 4 days


are we sure its not a woman running this team?!?!.....this team changes its mind on who or what they want more then my Gf does!!....I can see the hewadlines tomorrow...."Bungles choose (fill in player name here) any will attempt to make him a offer today"......I mean whos really makeing the calls here?...it seems to me like they are going with the pick of the week or just saying screw it and going for Palmer...
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