This week's "Thought of the Day" in the AFC North involved one of the hottest topics of the offseason in Carson Palmer. Cincinnati's franchise quarterback has been "Bengalized" and wants to be traded or released. Otherwise, Palmer threatened to retire.
Now it's up to the Bengals' brass to determine how to handle this situation. Here were responses from our AFC North community:
Chris Gardner from Santa Maria, Calif., writes: If I was Mike Brown, I would swallow my pride and trade Palmer while I can still get some value for him. I wouldn't want a player in a key position like QB who doesn't want to be there. I think Palmer still has plenty left in the tank and there are several teams that would take a chance on him. He has always been a class act and I think he is serious about retirement
Jason from Louisville, Ky., writes: I'm a die-hard Bengals fan, and I don't see how the Bengals can move forward with Palmer. What's the best-case scenario if that happens? You drag along a player that doesn't want to be on your team, pay him a huge amount of money and decide to move on next year? The Bengals' franchise is known for burning out coaches and players alike, and Carson has been a gentleman since the day he was drafted. Do you really think he was excited to be drafted by the Bengals? Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade. Let him go. Get what you can for him, thank him for his dedication to the franchise and move on.
Chris from Sandusky, Ohio, writes: Carson is my favorite Bengal of all time, but he's earned his way out by being a classy, above average QB for years. The fans feel the same way about how Mike Brown runs the team that Carson probably does, and if I were him, why not just retire? Let's get some draft picks and grab Cam Newtown -- we know he looks good in tiger stripes.
Tim from Columbus, Ohio, writes: As a lifelong Bengals fan (never wavered, either), I feel that we need to trade Carson. He's been better than every QB since Boomer Esiason, but his desire is clear. I'd rather replace him with some draft picks or other players who want to be here. Drafting a new QB or allowing Dan LeFevour to step up will only help us in the long run. I'd rather see us get some value by a trade than nothing via release or retirement.
Alex Stuart from Omaha, Ne., writes: I think that the Bengals should try and keep Palmer for next year, because I don't think it's all his fault why he did bad. Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco didn't run all there routes threw all the way. That’s why at the end of the year he started doing well because young guys like Andre Caldwell and Jerome Simpson stepped up. So I think they need to find a way to keep him in Cincinnati re-sign Cedric Benson and go back to the old way of Bengals smash-mouth football.
Mark from Cincinnati, Ohio, writes: There are several reasons I would not trade Carson. 1.) If you give in to trade demands, other players might try the same thing. 2.) There is no one to replace him and there are no good quarterbacks coming out of the draft. 3.) The Bengals wouldn't be able you get much for him, especially with his fat contract. 4.) Out of principle I believe players need to honor their contracts, especially when they're a part of why this team is bad.
Wes M. from Athens, Ohio, writes: The best thing for the team to do is keep Palmer for one more year if he's willing to compromise. The Bengals are going to have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL next year. So maybe that could sway him. If it's Ocho that Palmer is tired of we could afford to lose Chad although it will hurt for us fans.
Jim Klein from Bonita Springs, Fla., writes: I would have to side with the Bengals. Palmer signed a contract for 14 years and he should honor that unless they trade him. He knew what he was getting into. He should be a man and live up to his commitment.
AFC North final say
James Walker: This should not come as a surprise, because we've been saying this for months. The Bengals need to blow this team up, and that includes starting over at quarterback. Cincinnati is nowhere near competing for a Super Bowl with or without Palmer. He knows this, which is why Palmer wants out. The Bengals are at least two years away from competing for a playoff spot. They won four games last year. They can do that next season without Palmer and paying him $11.5 million next season. Palmer, 31, still has enough left to help a contending team. But the notion of Palmer leading Cincinnati to a Super Bowl title, which the Bengals seem to be holding onto, just isn't going to happen.
If you have any future "Thought of the Day" ideas in the AFC North, send them to our division inbox.