Carson Palmer, it is pretty safe to say, is one of the better players to have been drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the past several decades. They are not a franchise who has had a ton of success, so that might not necessarily be the most impressive feat in the world.
Still, he is a quarterback who had a lot of statistical success in his career in spite of the fact that he often was not put in the best of circumstances. He ended up having his best years at the end with the Arizona Cardinals, with former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians as his head coach.
It’s probably no coincidence that the Cardinals seem to appreciate Palmer more than the Bengals do, though, and the retired quarterback also has a clear preference for his final team as well. He was recently informed, over FaceTime, that he would be added to Arizona’s Ring of Honor, even though he spent just five years with the team, and his enthusiasm was apparent.
After expressing fondness for his time spend with the Cardinals, he said, speaking to the team’s owner, “I wish I would’ve gotten there earlier, as you know”. Palmer did ultimately help to force his way out of Cincinnati as his relationship with the team deteriorated, so there is that.
If you don’t recall the circumstances, Palmer told Head Coach Marvin Lewis following the 2010 season that he was planning to retire. The Bengals in response drafted Andy Dalton later that year. He was placed on the Reserve/Did Not Report List heading into training camp before they finally traded him to the Oakland Raiders after they lost Jason Campbell for the season. He would be traded to the Cardinals in 2013.
There, he would go on to start 60 games over five seasons, posting a record of 38-21-1. He completed 1373 of 2197 passes for 16,782 yards with 105 touchdowns and 57 interceptions. In 2015, he threw for a career-high 4671 yards with 35 touchdown passes, averaging a league-high 8.7 yards per pass attempt, earning All-Pro recognition and leading the Cardinals to the AFC Championship game.
For his 14-year career, Palmer ranks 13th in passing yards and touchdowns thrown. He overcame a couple of serious injuries over the course of his career to continue to have success, most notably a torn knee suffered playing against the Steelers in the playoffs in 2005.
He was fortunate to have the late-career opportunity and success to pair with Arians the way he did. Not many players in his situation ever get to experience that second life in the NFL after battling through a deteriorating situation. He may have wished he could have gotten to Arizona sooner, but he still appreciates that he was ever able to get there at all. The team has already drafted two quarterbacks high in the first round since his retirement at the end of the 2017 season.