CINCINNATI — On the first full day of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, there was no backing down in the case of the Cincinnati Bengals vs. quarterback Carson Palmer.
Palmer, who has four years left on his contract, told the Bengals in January that he would retire if he were not traded.
Coach Marvin Lewis and owner Mike Brown, during a Tuesday news conference at Paul Brown Stadium, seemed certain that they will have a new starting quarterback and that Palmer will not be traded.
"We go forward thinking that Carson and the decision that he's made, he'll stay true to that," Lewis said.
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That likely means that Andy Dalton, a second-round draft pick out of Texas Christian, would start. Jordan Palmer — Carson's younger brother — would return in a backup role, with Dan LeFevour third string. Or perhaps the Bengals will sign another quarterback.
"We're going to try and do our due diligence that way, look at some guys that are veteran quarterbacks, have some experience that way," Lewis said. "Whether or not they would be the starting quarterback or to be able to support whoever ends up being the starting quarterback here, I think that's something that we're desirous of."
The Bengals will complete physical exams Thursday and Friday morning in Cincinnati, report to training camp at Georgetown College from noon until 4 p.m. Friday, then go through their first workout Saturday, 3-5 p.m.
"I honestly like Carson Palmer. He was a splendid player for us," Brown said. "He's a good person. I wish him well. And he is retired. That was his choice. ... I'm not expecting him to be back."
Brown also said why he is unwilling to trade Palmer.
"Carson signed a contract. He made a commitment. He gave his word. We relied on his word. We relied on his commitment. We expected him to perform here. If he's going to walk away from his commitment, we aren't going to reward him for doing it."
Coming off a 4-12 season, the Bengals can use help.
"We'll look for a veteran, but we have a good, young draft pick in Andy Dalton," Brown said. "We like him. We think he is promising for our future. Yes, he'll have teething problems. It won't be altogether easy for him all the time. But we're going to put him in there and, if he can do it, we're going to go with him. I hope he can manage it. He's a feisty guy, a very poised young guy, and I think you'll find him attractive as a person and as a player."
Tuesday marked the first day that teams could sign college free agents. Lewis said that by the midday news conference, he had commitments from "about a dozen" players, although physicals and signed contracts still were needed.
Next, the Bengals must deal with their own free agents — most notably cornerback Johnathan Joseph and running back Cedric Benson — and free agents from around the league. Then there are the draft picks, including No. 1 choice A.J. Green and Dalton.
"Supposedly, under the new labor agreement, the anticipation of the National Football League ... is that the process should be not quite as cumbersome as it has been at times in the past," Lewis said of signing draft picks.
Green is a big hope at wide receiver, and the Bengals must decide whether to keep Chad Ochocinco and his $6 million contract or release him.
Similar decisions are due across the roster, so a process that normally takes months will be compressed into days.
Teams can begin making cuts Thursday at 4:01 p.m. and sign veteran free agents Friday at 6 p.m.
On top of that, the Bengals have a new offensive coordinator in former Louisville quarterback Jay Gruden.
Two-a-day practices in pads are now banned across the league, and players can't be on the field more than four hours a day. The walk-through practices will be totally without pads; not even helmets will be allowed.
"I think our goal is to leave training camp and understand how we want to play football," Lewis said. "And that's be very smart, play fast, play physical."