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AFC North News: Carson Palmer Has Not 'Retired', John Clayton Calls It More of a 'Sabbatical '

Well the first day of free agency wasn't exactly chock full of blockbuster signings as us typically the case in the opening hours of free agency, but that's actually not that surprising to me. I believe that once teams have had a day or two to negotiate with their players, they'll then have an idea of what there most realistic scenarios are and will then proceed (quickly) from there. I'd imagine that Wednesday and Thursday in particular will be quite exciting.

The big news of Tuesday occurred in the AFC North when Bengals owner Mike Brown announced that Carson Palmer 'has retired'. Well, as John Clayton explained on The Scott Van Pelt Show Tuesday afternoon, Palmer still can find his way out of Cincinnati, he'll just have to wait a year first.

So what I look at this as a sabbatical for Carson Palmer. He'll come back next year when they're going to be close to the cap, after the season, plant his $11.5 million salary on their salary cap and at that point, he'll be able to move on.

We'll see what Palmer elects to do. Obviously he's no spring chicken at 31 years of age (he'll turn 32 in late December). Frankly, a year away from the game might do him good, as he's still not looked quite right the past two seasons since returning from a string of injuries that limited him to just four games in 2008. Then again, with plenty of money already in the bank, Palmer could very well decide to retreat to a cushy life in California. Ultimately it might come down to just how badly Palmer wants to stick it to Brown for being so incredibly unreasonable throughout this whole ordeal.

As for what it means for Cincinnati in 2011? Well, quite a bit. The Bengals need to start thinking about the post-Palmer era, but really there's little hope for them this coming season if they're forced to roll with rookie Andy Dalton. As for potential free agent options? There's a handful of longtime backups that could suffice for a year while Dalton gets his feat underneath him, but none are all that inspiring (Jim Sorgi, Bruce Gradkowski, etc).

Somewhere in Cincinnati, Marvin Lewis is trying to sew his head to the carpet.