Mort: Carson Palmer Demands A Trade And Will Play The "Retirement Card"

CINCINNATI OH - DECEMBER 05: Jonathan Vilma #51 of the New Orleans Saints sacks Carson Palmer #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals during the NFL game at Paul Brown Stadium on December 5 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Saints won 34-30. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer's career has degraded in each of the past three seasons to the point that fans questioned if the Bengals should just move in another direction.

However, the Bengals quarterback may be thinking the same thing.

During ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown, Chris Mortensen reports that Carson Palmer is now demanding a trade. Says Mort that Palmer "wants a rebirth with a new franchise and will ask the Bengals to trade him this offseason to the team that he desires to play on to the point where he's willing to play the retirement card. He has enough money in the bank."

Three teams that could interest Palmer are in the NFC West: Seattle, San Francisco and Arizona.

Since 2004, Carson Palmer as a starting quarterback has compiled a 46-51-1 overall record, recording 33 interceptions in his previous 32 starts. Additionally, Palmer hasn't recorded a quarterback rating above 86.7 since 2006.

As surprising as Palmer's announcement may be, it's not without a sense of relief either. Bengals fans have been siding towards the team moving in a new direction with a new quarterback in 2010, mostly since Palmer's career seemed to continuously degrade in previous seasons. This includes issues with declining technique, often shorting his throws and failing to check off covered receivers, often throwing into double and triple coverage.

A trade to one of the NFC West teams could give the Bengals as high as a first round draft pick, putting the team in the running for one of this year's quarterbacks such Missouri's Blaine Gabbert, Washington's Jake Locker, Auburn's Cam Newton or Arkansas' Ryan Mallett. Or the team could decide to continuing with rebuilding the secondary, the defensive and offensive lines though the draft. The team will not be without options.

But is a trade even likely?

Palmer is due to make $50 million in base salary from 2011-2014, when his contract finally expires. Teams will have to consider not only giving up a first round draft pick, but they'll have to take on Palmer's salary. And for a quarterback that's declined so much, would teams even be willing to take on Palmer's salary while giving up a high draft pick? The question should be answered with an "unlikely". Teams could pick up Palmer's salary, but dispensing with a high draft pick seems very unlikely.

And considering that they remained steadfast in Chad Ochocinco's demand for a trade several offseasons ago, we don't see the team outright releasing Palmer either.

On the bright side, if the Bengals are able to unload Palmer's salary, it makes re-signing free agents such as cornerback Johnathan Joseph, running back Cedric Benson, defensive end Jonathan Fanene and linebacker Brandon Johnson much easier.

This will be fun.

UPDATE: According to Mortensen, "sources said he has grown frustrated with the team's inconsistencies."

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