Did Brown spill beans on Andy Dalton?

Lost in Monday's comments that Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown won't trade quarterback Carson Palmer is what Brown also said about his rookie quarterback.

"[Palmer is] 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," Brown said.

Did Brown spill the beans that Dalton won't have to compete for the starting job this summer? And is this the right message to send to your second-round pick?

By most accounts, everyone (including the AFC North blog) expects Dalton to beat out Jordan Palmer and Dan LeFevour in training camp. But Brown's comments suggest the Bengals already have their minds made up before Dalton's first NFL practice.

What if Dalton is slow to adjust to the pro game and needs time to develop? What if Dalton struggles mightily in the preseason and someone outperforms him? Is Brown already hedging the team's bets?

Most NFL head coaches prefer players to earn starting jobs instead of handing them out. Therefore, Marvin Lewis might try to come back and deem his quarterback race an "open competition." But ownership may have already set the tone for the team and its players that the job is going to Dalton.