Carson Palmer will have a familiar wide receiver to throw to. (Paul Sakuma / AP)

Houshmandzadeh, 34, played in Cincinnati when Palmer was the quarterback there and Jackson coached the Bengals’ wide receivers. In fact, Houshmandzadeh and Palmer had been working out together in southern California while Palmer waited for the Bengals to trade him. The best of their five seasons together was not so long ago — in 2007, Houshmandzadeh caught 112 passes for 1,143 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“He's a guy that made a lot of catches when it was sticky,” Jackson said, tipping his hand before the move was made. “With people draped all over him, he made some uncommon plays for us in Cincinnati.”

Darrius Heyward-Bey has been improving , but the rest of the wide receivers left something to be desired. Add to that a rusty quarterback — Palmer threw three interceptions in his first appearance Oct. 23 after being traded to the Raiders — and an available receiver with whom he has a history and the move makes sense.