The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t changing their tune on Carson Palmer.
Bengals owner Mike Brown told Albert Breer of NFL Network that he hopes to have Palmer back and won’t trade him, but that if Palmer follows through on a threat to retire rather than return to Cincinnati, the Bengals are prepared to turn to rookie Andy Dalton, the 35th pick in the draft.
“We don’t plan to trade Carson,” Brown said. “He’s important to us. He’s a very fine player, and we do want him to come back. If he chooses not to, he’d retire. And we would go with Andy Dalton, the younger player we drafted, who’s a good prospect. Ideally, we’d have both of them. That’d be the best way to go forward. If we don’t have Carson, we’ll go with Andy.”
Brown sang the praises of Dalton, describing him as a rookie who could be ready to start from Day One.
“He’s very football intelligent, he’s been with our coaches, and Jay Gruden, our coordinator,” Brown said. “Jay had a very good feeling about his football abilities, his abilities to understand the defenses and how to go about things. He’d been productive at the college level, and we think he has a good shot at it here.”
If Brown really feels that way about Dalton, however, it’s hard to see why he’s so steadfast in his refusal to trade Palmer. The Bengals appear to be ready to move on with Dalton as their starting quarterback, so why not try to bolster the roster by getting something for Palmer in a trade?
The question is moot until the lockout ends, but at the moment, Brown clearly doesn’t want Palmer to think he’ll have any other options besides Cincinnati and retirement.