The Cincinnati Bengals are in trouble. Don't act so surprised, in reality, the Bengals have been in trouble since 1991 when current owner officially took over the franchise. This year, they're just in double trouble. See, not only are the Bengals owned by the same man that allowed them to go 115-204-1 over the last 20 years, but the franchise quarterback, the man who gave all Bengals fans Super Bowl hopes, wants out of the franchise and will go as far as retirement to do so.
While there have been reports that the Bengals were trying to talk to Palmer and possibly coax him to come back, those attempts, if there actually were any, were obviously unsuccessful. Now, it seems, that the Bengals are moving forward, knowingly without Carson Palmer and it sounds as if head coach Marvin Lewis is done trying to convince Palmer to return.
"If a guy doesn’t want to play," he [Lewis] says, "you don’t want to talk him out of it."
Would you, if you were the head coach of an NFL team, want a quarterback, who was willing to retire to leave your team, to reluctantly return to take the snaps for another year? How would people in the locker room respond to him? How would people in the huddle respond to him? Would they feel abandoned and would they look at him as a leader anymore?
Furthermore, the quarterback position is the most important on the football field and if only one guy on your team has his head on straight and is looking in the right direction, it better be him. I'd be willing to bet my entire collection of Magic: The Gathering cards that a guy who wants a trade and threatens retirement won't have his head in the direction that it needs to be to lead a winning football team.
While Carson Palmer is the best option for the Bengals at quarterback to win in 2011, based off talent and experience, he may not be the best guy to lead the Bengals based on his attitude. Personally, I'd rather have a quarterback that wants to be there and cares about winning than a more talented quarterback that would rather be someplace else. If Marvin Lewis is abandoning the idea of convincing Palmer to return for the 2011 season, it's probably the right decision.
A quarterback that wants to be a Bengal will always be more effective than one who doesn't.