AFC West: Cinciinnati Bengals

Poll results: Palmer deal not good

November, 21, 2012
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According to our readers, the Carson Palmer trade was not a good one for the Oakland Raiders.

Former Oakland coach (and current Cincinnati assistant) Hue Jackson traded the Raiders’ 2012 first-round pick (the Bengals took cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with the No. 17 pick) and the Raiders’ second-round pick in 2013 for Palmer. They made the move last October after starter Jason Campbell was lost for the season with a broken collarbone. The Raiders were 4-2 at the time of the trade and it was made with a serious playoff push in mind. However, Oakland finished 8-8 and the Raiders are 7-13 since the trade heading into Palmer’s first trip back to Cincinnati as a Raider on Sunday.

He will go there on the losing side of the trade, according to our poll. As of 5:25 p.m. ET, 70 percent believe it was not a good deal for Oakland, while 30 percent believe it was a good deal for Oakland.

I have to lean with the majority. I don’t think Palmer, who turns 33 next month, is a bad quarterback, but I’m not sure if he is the long-term answer and his won-loss record is not good with the Raiders. There are worse options than Palmer at quarterback, but the price was steep for the lack of payoff thus far.

Thanks to everyone who played along. Meanwhile, ESPN’s John Clayton looks at the Palmer situation in his mailbag.

Moving on: Oakland Raiders

November, 19, 2012
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Here are some areas the Oakland Raiders need to focus on after a 38-17 home loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday:

Recap: The wheels are falling off in Oakland. The Raiders (3-7) have lost three straight games and have allowed 135 points during that span. Owner Mark Davis expressed displeasure after the game, making folks wonder if first-year general manager Reggie McKenzie and first-year coach Dennis Allen are in trouble.

Biggest area to fix: The defense is a mess. Oakland has surrendered 42, 55 and 38 points in the past three games. Allen is a defensive specialist and he must find a way to get more out of this group down the stretch.

Biggest area to build on: Marcel Reece. The fullback had 103 yards rushing and 90 yards receiving Sunday. With starting tailback Darren McFadden and his backup Mike Goodson out with high ankle sprains, Reece may be called upon for more rushing duty next week.

What to watch for: Perhaps a trip to the Cincinnati Bengals will get the Raiders fired up. It will be Carson Palmer's first trip there since being traded to Oakland last October. Plus, Hue Jackson, the man who traded for Palmer, is now an assistant coach in Cincinnati.

AFC West mock draft: Take II

February, 29, 2012
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After attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis, here is my second AFC West mock draft for the teams' first round picks. We will do this periodically after major events such as key free-agent signings and pro day workouts:

11. Kansas City Chiefs, MLB, Luke Kueckly, Boston College: Kueckly came into the combine on the Chiefs' radar. After a strong performance, he must still be a a strong possibility for Kansas City. He looks like a perfect fit for Romeo Crennel's 3-4 defense.

Previous pick: OT, Jonathan Martin, Stanford.

18. San Diego Chargers, OG, David DeCastro, Stanford: With Kris Dielman expected to retire, the Chargers have a gaping hole to fill. DeCastro is a major talent and if he is available at No. 18 I think San Diego has no other choice.

Previous pick: San Diego, LB, Courtney Upshaw, Alabama.

25. Denver Broncos, DT Fletcher Cox, Mississippi State: There are some high-quality defensive tackles in this draft and Cox is one of them. He had a strong combine and if he is available, Denver would jump to draft him. He’d be a strong addition to an improving defense.

Previous pick: Cox.

The Oakland Raiders do not have a first-round pick (No. 17) because it traded it to the Cincinnati Bengals in a package deal for quarterback Carson Palmer.

AFC West Stock Watch

October, 18, 2011
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NFC Stock Watch: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

FALLING

1. The Raiders' draft future: The Raiders are set to give up a 2012 first-round pick and a conditional first-round pick in 2013 to Cincinnati for Carson Palmer. The Raiders' highest draft pick in 2012 will be a fifth-round pick. They have a sixth-round pick, but not a seventh-round pick. The Raiders are likely set to get a couple of compensatory picks (it starts at the end of the third round) for lost free agents. Still, the Raiders are clearly set up to win now.

2. Jason Campbell’s job security: Campbell's broken collarbone Sunday prompted the Palmer deal. The injury was a major blow to Campbell, who was finding success in his second season in Oakland. He is a free agent after the season. I could have seen the Raiders extending his contract at some point. Now, the 29-year-old’s future is very likely over in Oakland with the Raiders set to trade for Palmer. Campbell is going from the Raiders' sure starter to career limbo.

3. Kyle Orton’s future: Now that he has been replaced by Tim Tebow as Denver’s starting quarterback, it may be difficult for Orton to get another starting gig. He is a free agent at the end of the year, but will he be sought after as a starter?

[+] EnlargeTim Tebow
AP Photo/Joe MahoneyTim Tebow is going to get his chance to prove himself as the Broncos' starting quarterback.
RISING

1. The Raiders’ discipline: The Raiders were penalized just five times for 35 yards in their 24-17 win over Cleveland in Week 6. The Raiders have long been the most penalized team in the NFL. Oakland coach Hue Jackson has worked diligently on the issues. It may finally be paying off.

2. Oakland’s defense: Oakland’s defense has made strides in the past two weeks. It was effective against the Browns. If the Raiders can continue to limit the big play, the defense should help the team win games.

3. TebowMania: It’s just starting. Now that Tebow is going to be given the chance to prove he can be the Broncos’ starting quarterback of the future, we’ll be hearing even more about the kid who has been known as the most popular backup in sports.

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