Marvin Lewis seems to confirm Palmer’s return in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Will Carson Palmer be back? Barring a major change in heart, which looks unlikely to happen, one of Lewis’ major priorities will be finding complementary parts for Palmer.
“It’s important to recapture the spirit of our football team,” Lewis said. “I told him (Palmer) yesterday privately that it’s important to me that I will help him be the player that I know he is and I believe in him and he’s important to me.”
This is good news for a few of my early sleepers heading into the 2011 season: WRs Jerome Simpson, Andre Caldwell, Jordan Shipley and TE Jermaine Gresham, who is just the 7th tight end in league history to catch 50+ passes in his rookie season. Palmer played pretty well with this group over the final two games, throwing for 574 yards and five TDs against two pretty good defenses (San Diego and Baltimore). It appears that he may be better off if he doesn’t have his wideouts chirping in his ear.
I’m not sure how much longer Simpson will be a sleeper after the third-year wideout caught 18 passes for 247 yards and three TDs over his final two games of the season. If both Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens are gone next season, Simpson is a good bet to finish as a top 15 or 20 fantasy WR. Caldwell and Shipley are going to hold more value in PPR leagues, and they could cancel each other out if the Bengals go to a more run-oriented attack.